Central rallies for softball split
TUCSON, ARIZ.—A 13-hit, 11-run outburst helped the Central College softball team ease the sting of a three-game slide at Tucson Invitational Games Wednesday.
California powerhouse Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) won its second straight over the Dutch and in more decisive fashion, 7-0. The Athenas escaped 2-1 in the teams’ earlier meeting Monday evening. But Central (7-3) rebounded Wednesday with an 11-0, five-inning rout of Augsburg (Minn.).
But Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (12-7) had much to do with Central’s earlier struggles. All-American Hayley Schultz lived up to her reputation as one of Division III’s dominant hurlers. She was even less generous than she was Monday evening, limiting Central to just two hits.
“She’s really, really good,” Wares said. “Today she was able to switch gears. You could tell she was a little tired after pitching an eight-inning game yesterday, but she just went with more change-ups and pitched inside a little more. She did a nice job of switching things up.
“Claremont is really, really good. I think we’ll be there at the end of the season but we’re not there right now.”
Third baseman Whitney Sowers (junior, Marshalltown), who had two hits against Schultz Monday, had another Wednesday and was on base three times. The only other hit was a leadoff single by designated player Karlee Rock (junior, Wheatland, Calamus-Wheatland HS) in the second inning. The Dutch went on to load the bases but came up empty after a bizarre delay. Center fielder Paige Heesch (junior, Titonka, WCLT HS), in a delayed call, was called out at first on an infield hit but the call was changed when it was ruled the CMS first baseman pulled her foot. Meanwhile Central pinch-runner Chelsea Greiner (senior, Agency, Cardinal HS) raced home from second base, sliding safely under the tag at the plate. But after a more than 20-minute delay as the umpires consulted the rule book and other umpires before sending Greiner back to third and fill the bases.
“We score two there and it maybe changes the whole complexion of the game,” Wares said. “But you have to give (Schultz) credit for not letting that happen.
“They took advantage of their opportunities and we did not.”
Mallory Schulenberg (junior, Kansas City, Mo., St. Pius X HS) absorbed the loss. She gave up four runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 3.2 innings. Sophomore Trisha Smith (New Hampton) threw the final 3.1 innings, yielding three runs on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
“That’s clearly the best team Trish has faced,” Wares said. “She’s showing that she’s going to be a real solid pitcher for us.”
Central wasted little time in changing the tone against Augsburg, striking for a run in the top of the first inning and four more in the second as freshman pinch-hitter Felicia Schulty (Wellman, Mid-Prairie HS) lined a three-run double into the gap. The Dutch added six runs in the fourth. Shortstop Annie Sarcone (senior, Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) had a two-run double.
Heesch had three hits while Sarcone, second baseman Abbey Strajack (junior, Davenport, Assumption HS) and Sowers each had two.
Meanwhile Brie Haycraft (senior, Eldridge, North Scott HS) limited the Auggies (2-9) to just three hits with no walks and two strikeouts over five innings in raising her record to 3-1.
“We clearly needed a game like that,” Wares said. “It was nice to not just win but to win it clean, without giving up a run, rather than 10-8 or something like that.”
Having regained its footing, the Dutch will look for more success against a couple of other respectable California foes, meeting LaVerne at 9 a.m. and Pomona-Pitzer at 11 a.m.
“That league doesn’t get enough respect,” Wares said. “We’ll see some very good athletes.
“But hopefully with a night’s rest, we can come back with a good effort.”