Last Thursday afternoon, Bluejay softball traveled to Wausau-West High School while looking to knock off the Warriors for a valley win.
In the wake of a two-inning stalemate, the Warriors would be the first on the board with a run in the third, followed by another in the fourth to take a 2-0 lead. The Bluejay bats would remain quiet until the top of the sixth when Kelsie Belfiori would score the lone Merrill run of the game, off a Maddix Bonnell grounder to the Warrior shortstop,
Batting: Bonnell (2/3, RBI); Belfiori (1/2, R), Madi Weix (2/2)
Pitching: Krueger (L/7H, 4R, K)
MRL: 0 0 0 0 0 1 0-1
WST: 0 0 1 1 0 2 X-4
2-1 on the weekend
Saturday morning, the ladies enjoyed an entire day of softball as they welcomed Tomah, Antigo and Gresham Community High School to the Merrill Invitational at the MARC.
The Tomah Timberwolves were the first to step on to the field versus the Jays and soon found themselves on the receiving end of a Bluejay batting barage. Belfiori drew first blood for the Jays right away in the first; crossing the plate off a left field grounder from Bonnell. Callie Oberg followed up with another score thanks to a Calle Johnson fly to center field. After holding the ‘wolves scoreless in the bottom of the first, the ladies cut loose with a five-run melee in the second; scoring Megan Schroder, Madi Weix, Belfiori, Bonnell and Allie Becker.
Tomah would make a game of it with a score in the second and another pair of runs in the third to narrow the Merrill lead to 5 (3-8), but it would be the Jays to land true the final blows of a Timberwolf knockout with eight runs in the 5th.
Batting: Belfiori (4/5, 4R, 2RBI); Patience Pyan (3/5, R, 2RBI); Bonnell (2/3, 2R, 2RBI, BB); Oberg (2/3, R, RBI, BB); Lindsey Casper (2/4, R, 4RBI); M. Schroder (2/3, 2R, RBI, BB); Madi Weix (1/4, R); Molly Weix (1/4, R, RBI)
Pitching: Belfiori (W/7H, 4R, 2ER, K)
MRL: 2 5 1 1 8 X X-17
TMH: 0 1 2 0 1 x x-4
Antigo would prove to be a bit more of a challenge for the Jays, slipping away with a narrow 4-3 win.
Patience Pyan put Merrill on the board first with a run off a right field liner from Oberg and was soon followed by Bonnell to set the Jays up 2-0. The Red Robins could counter with three runs of their own to edge the Jays, as the teams headed into a three-inning stalemate. It would be Belfiori coming through to tie the contest with a textbook center field flyball homer in the top of the fifth. Unfortunately, the Red Robins would have the same recipe in the bottom of the sixth; cranking out a home run of their own to seal the win.
Batting: Pyan (2/3, R, 2TB); Bonnell (1/3, R); Belfiori (1/4, HR, 4TB); Calli Oberg (1/3, RBI)
Pitching: Krueger (L/6H, 4R, 1ER, 3K)
MRL: 2 0 0 0 1 0 0-3
AGO: 3 0 0 0 0 1 X-4
Despite the heartbreaker, the Jays would rebound in resonating fashion in facing Gresham Community; making quick work of the Wildcats in a matter of just three innings. The ladies would hammer out 13 runs in the first inning alone, to nail down the 19-0 win.
Batting: Johnson (2/2, 3R, 4RBI, BB); Casper (1/3, 2R, 4RBI); Pyan (1/1, 3R, RBI, BB); Bonnell (1/1, 3R, 2RBI, 2BB); Ally Semling (1/1, 2R, 2RBI, BB); Megan Schroder (1/1, R, 2RBI, BB); Madi Weix (R, RBI) Stephanie Schroder (R, RBI).
Pitching: Megan Schroder (W/2H, 2K, 2BB)
“I thought we played well for most of the day,” comments head coach Matt Ellenbecker, “We jumped on Antigo right away and took advantage of a defensive misplay by them, but we gave them a couple runs back right after that, due to being a bit slow reacting on the infield to some bunts by them. That can’t happen. We need nine players on their toes and making plays at all times. That game was a battle the rest of the way with tough pitching from both sides. Kelsie Belfiori came up with the big hit for us in the top of the sixth, hitting a high fly ball to the opposite way for a game-tying home run,” he adds.
“Antigo answered right back in the bottom of the inning though, and we couldn’t squeeze out a run in the seventh. Positives from the day include getting quality starts in the circle from all three of our pitchers. Kelsie and Megan Schroder pitched well against Tomah and Gresham respectively, which is good to see. You like to build some pitching depth. We had pretty good at-bats throughout the day, although we have some things to work on when it comes to how we approach certain at-bats.”
Breaking even with the Warriors
Monday afternoon, the Jays locked up with Wausau-West once again, this time on their familiar home turf of the MARC.
Belfiori got things rolling right away in the first, making it home via Calle Johnson grounder. Makayla Heller then crossed the plate in the bottom of the second on a passed ball; igniting a three-run effort from the Jays completed by Madi Weix and another Belfiori score. The Jays would only pick up steam from there, holding the Warriors dormant while piling up another five runs through the sixth. The Warriors would manage to make it respectable with two runs in the seventh, but the Jays would walk away with the solid 9-2 win and breaking even on the season series.
“We played a good game,” Ellenbecker adds. “It was nice to get another shot at a team that we played poorly against just a few days earlier. We talked before the game about the need to play with energy and enthusiasm from the first pitch, and not wait until somebody made a play to get excited; I think we did that. I liked our hustle on the field today. Calle Johnson stood out in particular, busting it down to first on walks and around the bases in general,” he adds.
We had good patient at-bats to draw some walks, and hit the ball pretty hard for the most part. We haven’t been clicking entirely yet, but hopefully that is to come. We played a clean defensive game, too, which always leads to good things. It was a nice bounce back win against West.”
Batting: Pyan (2/3, 2R, RBI, 2TB); Johnson (2/4, R, RBI, 2B, 3TB); Maddix Bonnell (1/3, R, RBI, 3B, 3TB); Lindsey Casper (1/4, RBI)
Pitching: Taylor Krueger (W/8H3K, BB), Megan Schroder (3H, 2R, 2ER, K).
WST: 0 0 0 0 0 0 2-2
MRL: 1 3 1 2 0 2 X-9