By Nick Beversdorf
They played well, but despite their best efforts Bluejay varsity softball lost to SPASH on Tuesday (May 17) with a final score of 19-2. Merrill mustered only four hits while committing three errors.
The game started on a sour note with SPASH getting three runs – two from a homerun – in the first inning, and piled on five more in the second. Merrill would score their only two runs of the game in the bottom of the second with Emily Travis driving in both Kelsie Belfiori and Lindsey Casper with a fly ball to center field.
Point quickly responded with seven runs in the third, two from another homerun. They would get their last four runs in the fourth inning with a series of line drives and grounders. Neither team would see any runs in the fifth.
“This is one that we just need to move on from,” comments head coach Matt Ellenbecker. “We knew coming in that SPASH had a scary offense, and tonight they really showed it. We live on moving the ball around and making hitters cover all corners of the zone, and that is a challenging thing for most high school players to do. SPASH put on a clinic tonight. When our pitchers strayed from the corners at all, they smashed the ball.
“There were a couple of plays that we should have made, that would have limited the damage a bit, but they really earned most of what they got tonight.”
Travis lead the scoring drive with her one hit that batted in both Belfiori and Lindsey Casper. Lindsey, Taylor Krueger and Calli Oberg also had a walk. Chelsey LaMonica also got one hit. Krueger pitched the first 3.1 innings, striking out one, walking one, allowing 12 hits and 11 runs – nine earned. LaMonica pitched the remaining 1.2 innings, striking out none, walking three, allowing seven hits and eight runs – four earned.
Fielding was lead by LaMonica with four putouts. Other fielders that made an impact include Cassandra Casper with three putouts, Molly Weix and Calle Johnson with two putouts each, Maddix Bonnell and Leonna Ives with a putout and two assists each and Belfiori and Oberg with a putout each.
“Offensively, I thought we put together good at-bats, but we aren’t making the solid contact that we feel we should,” adds Ellenbecker. “Now, part of that is facing a very good pitcher, who moves the ball and locates well. I sometimes think that we need to be more aggressive early in at-bats. We need to look for that pitch we can drive and, if we get it right away, go after it. Sometimes you’re too patient and you find yourself in counts that gives the advantage to the pitcher. I thought that was the case at times tonight, and even against Marshfield last week. It was nice to get Lindsey Casper back in the lineup and she came up with a big hit for us. Kelsie Belfiori also smashed the ball tonight and played some good center field for us.
“This was a tough one, no doubt. It was a reminder that we need to continue to work and sharpen things up in the circle and all around the field. The positive is that we won’t face a lineup like this the rest of the way. Our pitchers have shown the ability to shut down good offenses this year. We’re still waiting for that game where all phases play well at the same time. Next week when regionals kick off would be a great time for that to happen.”
Stats provided by GameChanger.