Central rebounds after softball streak snapped
TUCSON, ARIZ.—Central College’s 11-game softball win streak ended with a thud in a 10-4 setback against Wis.-La Crosse before the Dutch rebounded with a 6-2 victory over Hamline University (Minn.) Saturday.
Aided by two Central errors, Wis.-La Crosse (11-3) jolted the Dutch (12-2) with a two-run first inning and followed with four runs in the second inning and another in the third for a 7-0 bulge.
“La Crosse is good,” coach George Wares said. “They played really well, you’ve got to give them credit, and combine that with some mistakes we made,and it started to snowball.”
Central finally responded with a two-run fourth inning on back-to-back RBI doubles by pitcher Karly Olson (senior, Winterset) and second baseman Paige Dickel (junior, Norwalk).
Center fielder Sara Tallman (freshman, Pella) had three hits in the game and left fielder Tabitha Taylor (junior, Grimes, Dallas Center-Grimes HS) had two.
“I thought we did some really good things at the plate and had some quality at-bats, but it’s tough to get down seven runs and come back from that,” Wares said.
Wis.-La Crosse added a run in the fifth and two in the sixth, finally knocking out Olson (3-2). The Dutch ace had her bumpiest outing of the young season, surrendering 10 runs on 12 hits with two strikeouts and no walks. Annie DeVries (junior, Eldridge, North Scott HS) gave up a hit over two scoreless innings of relief.
“I thought Annie did a nice job of shutting them down and keeping it manageable,” Wares said.
The Dutch must learn from the difficult loss, Wares said.
“It’s important to play teams that will expose some things and (La Crosse) did that today,” he said. “Now we know we’ve got to do some things better as we move forward.”
Wares liked Central’s response against Hamline, jumping on top with a two-run first inning as Taylor and Olson delivered run-scoring hits before a line-drive double play prevented further damage. Taylor also had an RBI triple in a two-run third inning, with the Dutch adding single tallies in the fourth and sixth.
DeVries (5-0) got the win, going 4.1 innings and yielding two runs on five hits with three walks and a strikeout. Mariah Fritz (sophomore, Wellman, Mid-Prairie HS) threw the final 2.2 innings, allowing one hit and a walk with two strikeouts in recording her first Central save.
There were numerous individual highlights for the Dutch, none bigger than seeing sophomore transfer Emily Wilson (Bondurant, Bondurant-Farrar HS) take the field at shortstop after sustaining what appeared to be a serious injury late Friday. She was a bit limited and was hitless against Wis.-La Crosse but then delivered three hits against Hamline.
“Let’s face it, 24 hours ago we were thinking we’d maybe lost her for the season, which would have been a real blow,” Wares said. “For her to come back and play was great to see.”
Sophomore third baseman Lauren Bagby (sophomore, Norwalk), sidelined by injury most of the trip, saw her most extensive action of the season, playing on defense for much of the first game Saturday.
“It was good to get Lauren out there a little even though she’s not 100 percent yet,” Wares said. “I thought she looked fine, but there was still a little hesitancy so we’re still going to be real cautious.”
Tallman and Taylor each had four hits in the two games.
“Sara had good at-bats all day,” Wares said. “And Tabitha Taylor continues to play at a high level both offensively and defensively.”
Wares also cited sophomore catcher Kylie Olson (Mapleton, Minn., Maple River HS).
“You’ve got to credit Kylie,” Wares said. “For people who aren’t here, it’s hot. It’s probably as hot as it’s ever been on one of our trips here and she’s caught just about every inning when it’s sometimes 90 or 95 degrees on the field.
“There are a lot of good things that are happening. When you look at the total package, we’re pleased with where we are, but when you lose one like we did today, that’s going to leave a bad taste in your mouth for the next 24 hours. We have to learn from it and get better.”
Central closes its 16-game trip against the same two foes Sunday, taking on Wis.-La Crosse at 9 a.m. (11 a.m. Central Daylight Time) and Hamline at 1:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. CDT).