By Nick Beversdorf
Bluejay varsity softball continued their winning streak over the weekend with wins over both Portage and River Valley. The Bluejays defeated Portage with a final score of 10-0 on the strength of 13 hits and only one error. Soon after they also defeated River Valley 3-0 while generating six hits and committing one error. These wins bring Bluejay varsity softball up to an 8-5 record overall.
The first game against Portage saw neither team make any significant advances in the first two innings. That all changed at the top of the third when Merrill would score seven runs. It started with Madisen Weix batting in Maddix Bonnell with a grounder to the pitcher. Soon after Leonna Ives would drive in Calle Johnson with a grounder to first base and Weix would score a run on the next play courtesy of Chelsey LaMonica’s fly ball to right field. Lindsey Casper would score a run off a grounder to shortstop, courtesy of Calli Oberg.
A few pitches later, Kelsie Belfiori would drive in both Molly Weix and Emily Travis with a hard grounder to second base. Belfiori would score the last run of the inning courtesy of Stephanie Schroder’s ground ball to center field.
Oberg would bat in Ives with a line drive to right field in the fourth inning and later, during the fifth, a Schroder grounder to left would allow Madisen Weix to advance to third, but an error committed by the third baseman allowed her to advance to home. A Casper hard grounder to shortstop during the sixth would allow Emily Travis to score the last run of the game.
The game was a great defensive performance lead by pitchers Chelsey LaMonica and Taylor Krueger, both of whom allowed no runs. LaMonica allowed 4 hits and 4 walks while striking out two, and Krueger only allowed one hit and struck out one. Fielding efforts were led by Leonna Ives and Molly Weix, both with four putouts. Other defensive players that made an impact include Lindsey Casper with three putouts and two assists, Calli Oberg with three putouts, both LaMonica and Bonnell with a putout and two assists and Cassandra Casper and Chelsie Belfiori with a putout each.
Offensively, the team put relatively uniform effort into making plays. Scoring leaders include Madisen Weix and Emily Travis with two runs each, Molly Weix and Belfiori with a run and two RBIs each, Ives with a run, a walk and a RBI, Oberg with two RBIs and a walk, Lindsey Casper and Calle Johnson with a run each, Bonnell with a run and a walk and both LaMonica and Schroder with an RBI each.
“We played very solid ball, it was a great team win,” comments head coach Matt Ellenbecker. “We have been pretty good about driving the ball this year, but our big inning in this game was built off of small ball. Maddix lead off with a beautiful bunt for a single and we continued to attack with the bunt throughout that inning. When we went to swinging away, Steph Schroder lead the charge with two base hits to centerfield. We’ve struggled with our bunting at times this year, so it was very nice to have success playing that style of ball today.”
“Pitching and defense were very solid for us. Any time you can get a shut out it is a big deal. Chelsey threw 5 very strong innings and got a bit tired in the 6th, and Taylor came in with a couple of runners on and didn’t give them anything.”
The second game against River Valley played out much differently, with Taylor Krueger pitching a no-hitter. The game ended in the third (the game was called early due to heavy rain) with Merrill generating three runs in the second inning.
Lindsey Travis batted in Cassandra Casper with a fly ball to shortstop, and later Ives would also hit a fly ball to shortstop, allowing Molly Weix to score. LaMonica would bat Emily Travis in with a sacrifice fly to end their scoring run.
Taylor Krueger pitched a terrific game, allowing one walk and no runs while striking out two. Bonnell lead what little defensive effort was needed with two putouts and one assist. Krueger, Oberg and LaMonica also helped with 2 putouts each. Offensively, Emily Travis scored one run and a RBI, Cassandra Casper and Molly Weix each scored one run and Ives had an RBI and a walk. LaMonica would score one RBI.
“The River Valley game was ended after 3 innings by rain,” adds Ellenbecker. “We kept our momentum from the early game going, but eventually the rain became too much to keep us from completing the game.”
Bluejay varsity softball will face DC Everest tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at the MARC.
Stats provided by GameChanger.