Wild pitch lifts BHS softball over rival
Alex Zordel took one for the team.
Instead of coming up with game-winning hit, she was hit by the game-losing pitch.
With the game tied 4-4, the Baldwin High School softball team (7-5) had a chance to defeat its rival, the Eudora Cardinals, in the opening game of Tuesday's doubleheader. In the bottom of the eighth inning, BHS loaded the bases with a single and two walks.
Then the BHS junior, a clutch hitter for the Bulldogs, stepped up to the plate with two outs. It was her chance for a heroic moment.
"We were hoping she would hit it over them or something, but whatever I guess, it worked," junior Kelly Baker said.
It worked all right. All Zordel had to do was stand in the batter's box and take the first pitch. The ball drilled her in the thigh, giving her a free base. Senior Callie Craig came home from third base to win the game.
"It was a weird ending," Craig said. "I was on third and I thought Alex was going to get a hit, but instead she got hit. It was nice, because I didn't have to run to home. I just walked in."
In all of the excitement of winning the rivalry game, Zordel nearly forgot to make the play official. Her coaches reminded her to go touch first base. Now the 5-4 victory was official.
"We had the bases loaded with our number four hitter up," coach Ginny Honomichl said. "It was the perfect situation. I told her not to swing at a pitch until she had had a strike called on her. Then bang, she gets hit by the first pitch. I didn't expect it to happen that way. That's just one of those things were you figure you have to be on base to score. It showed us anything can happen."
Baldwin's highlights for the night stopped after Zordel's game-winning at-bat. The Bulldogs went on to lose the second game 6-1 to split the doubleheader Tuesday.
"It was exciting, because Eudora is our biggest rival," Baker said. "To beat them in one of the games was nice."
The first game wasn't all smiles for Baldwin. In fact, the top of the first inning was anything but smiles. Eudora scored a pair of runs in the inning, as two BHS players dropped pop-ups. The errors even brought Honomichl out of the dug out.
"We definitely came out and gave them five outs in the first inning," Honomichl said. "They scored two runs on two dropped balls. It's not that they were the easiest to catch, but we should have caught them. I was really ticked at our kids and it was the first time all year I had to go out and speak sort of, not-softly to them. It was just ugly."
Baldwin rallied to score the next four runs of the game. Eudora tied the game 4-4 in the sixth inning. Despite several runners on base, the Cardinals failed to score during the final two innings.
"I think Callie did a really nice job of keeping us in the game and frustrating their hitters," Honomichl said. "We really did settle down and make some better plays and decisions."
Craig said she didn't let the early mistakes affect her pitching.
"It was pretty stressful, because we had a lot of errors in the beginning," she said. "That's how they got all of their runs. That game was really tiring, too. I guess you just have to keep pitching well. I usually don't get upset by think of stuff."
That victory was the second for Craig in two days. She also helped the Bulldogs beat Spring Hill Monday night on the road. Baldwin won both games 6-1 to sweep the Broncos.
"We have won three out of the last four games," Honomichl said Tuesday. "I'll take three out of four anytime."
The BHS players really enjoyed beating Spring Hill in both games of the doubleheader.
"That was nice, because we usually lose to Spring Hill," Craig said. "It felt good to finally beat them. We both pitched and both won 6-1."
Craig pitched the first game and only allowed two hits, while Zordel pitched all seven innings of the second contest and gave up just six hits.
"I don't know if we have ever swept them," Honomichl said. "Very seldom have we ever beat them. Both Callie and Alex pitched two very good games. We played good defense, too."
BHS is scheduled to play three more games this week and five next week. Baldwin hosts Hays at 3:30 p.m. Friday and Prairie View at 10 a.m. Saturday. Next week, Baldwin will travel to Gardner on Tuesday and then host St. James Wednesday. Both doubleheaders begin at 4:30 p.m. The final regular season game is a single contest against Central Heights May 9.
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