Bulldogs battle chilly start, sweep Eagles in opener
Although the weather wasn’t spring-like, the Baldwin High School softball season began Tuesday.
Despite the overcast skies and temperature near 40 degrees, the Bulldogs battled through their opener and won a pair of games. The Bulldogs swept Wellsville to open the home complex with two wins.
“It was freezing,” senior Morgan Burton said. “Honestly, we’ve been practicing in it so we’re used to it.”
The Bulldogs’ new head coach started the season with two wins. After the victories, she was just happy rain didn’t postpone opening night.
“We were glad we were able to play tonight,” coach Ginger Crist said. “We thought with the weather, we might not get our games in tonight. We were at the point where we were ready to play a game. This was good. It was good to go out and play. We still have things we need to work on, but it was nice to come out and get a sweep.”
A pair of victories on opening night also sat well with the BHS players.
“It feels really great to sweep Wellsville,” junior Hayley Schwartz said. “We know that the new coaching staff is working really well. What we’re doing differently is working and we’re all working really hard every day. I personally had a lot of fun. Coming out and getting two wins to start the season is always a lot of fun.”
Baldwin beat the Eagles 5-1 and 7-5. The first game was close until a four-run fifth inning by Baldwin. The Eagles rallied in the second game to close the lead at 6-5, but Baldwin held on for the doubleheader sweep.
“It was bittersweet,” Burton said. “I didn’t feel like we played as well as we could have, but it was nice to get two wins. It always helps to play Wellsville first, because it gets us pumped up to start the season.”
The Bulldogs hung on for victory in the second game. They led 6-1 before Wellsville rallied and scored four runs in the fifth inning. BHS fielding mistakes led to two of the runs.
Baldwin responded in the bottom of the inning. Senior Kyla Good hit a leadoff double. She stole third base on a passed ball. With Good on third base, senior Aspen Brooks attempted to steal second base.
The Wellsville catcher threw the ball to second base, but the pass was cutoff by the short stop in front of second base. The short stop fired the ball back to the catcher, but Good already crossed home plate, giving BHS a 7-5 lead.
A four-run third inning gave Baldwin a 6-1 lead. Scoring runs in the inning were senior Karlee Beach, Burton, Good and Brooks. Runs by Brooks in the second inning and junior Madeline Brungardt in the first inning also contributed to the early lead. Wellsville scored one run in the top half of the opening inning.
“We’re always going to have some first-game jitters and see what everyone can do,” Schwartz said. “We have a couple of new players, but it all came together nicely tonight.”
Sophomore Katie Pattrick relieved Schwartz on the mound in the second game. It was Pattrick’s first time pitching in a varsity contest.
“She’s got to get experience,” Crist said. “The only way to do that is put her in there. She did all right. The girls eventually adjusted behind her.”
In the first contest of the night, the Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Burton hit an RBI single that scored Brungardt from third base. Wellsville tied the game 1-1 in top of the fifth inning.
However, the Bulldogs rallied in the bottom half of the inning. Brungardt hit a double, which was followed by an RBI single from sophomore Kaitlin Jorgensen, who had the game-winning hit. Beach moved Jorgensen to second base with a single.
Burton continued the rally as she hit a two-RBI triple, scoring Jorgensen and Beach. Good finished the scoring with an RBI single, scoring Burton. Those four runs were enough for the Bulldogs as they won 5-1.
“After we got through the batting order once, we relaxed more,” Crist said. “The first time through, we were whining because the pitches were a little low or outside. Then they knew what to expect. The second time is always better, because you know what pitches are coming at you. We adjusted well.”
Baldwin is scheduled to play at De Soto today and at Ottawa on Tuesday. Both doubleheaders will begin at 4:30 p.m.
“De Soto is a good team,” Burton said. “It will be a tough road test for us. Hopefully, we can pull together and get a win or two.”