Softball: Norway, BR-H battle to split doubleheader
The Knights (2-3) beat the Broncos 16-9 in the second game after losing 8-5 in the first.
“In the first game it was 8-5 and we came back in the second game and the girls really hit the ball,” Norway head coach Bob Bal said. “They put their starting pitcher back in that pitched the first game and we were still able to hit the ball on her. It was nice to see that. A couple things that really impressed me today was our freshmen batters. They put the bat on the ball. We were talking after with the kids is that was one of the bright spots. If the ball was outside they were able to go with the ball and hit it in that direction.”
McKenzie Clifford was 4 for 4 with three runs scored in the second game for the Knights. Averie Popp was 3 for 4 with a double and two runs scored. Allie Sheski was 2 for 4 with a double and two runs scored.
Mariah Gyselinck pitched the first game for Norway while her sister Kassi Gyselinck threw the second. Mariah struck out three and walked three. Kassi struck out seven and walked four in the second game.
Eden Oswald’s fastball stifled Norway in the first game. She had six strikeouts for the Broncos.
Bark River-Harris (1-1) rallied in the fifth and sixth innings of the first game. Oswald had singles in both innings. Ally Richer, Cierra Ouradnik had hits for Bark River-Harris.
While Oswald didn’t stack an enormous strikeout total, she kept hitters off-balance and chasing at high pitches.
“Pitching, we have some stellar pitching. Both of our pitchers were at about 70 percent for their strike rate, which was excellent,” Bark River-Harris head coach Jennifer Goodrich said. “We aim for consistency in our pitching. With Esther we’re working on speed and consistency. With Eden we’re working on calling pitches and being consistent, especially with umpires and where they’re going to take the call.”
But the Knights gained confidence in the second game, getting 18 hits in the second game, including some as Oswald took the mound in relief. This time around, Norway batters took Oswald’s velocity to the right side of the field.
“Eden, she’s a pretty fast pitcher, we’ve been seeing her for years,” Bal said. “When she came back in, the girls were going with that pitch. Most of the girls, even Ada (VanHolla) were hitting it to right-center. That’s where you’ve got to hit it. You go with the pitch, especially on a day like this with the wind blowing left to right.”
A brisk wind blowing in from centerfield in the first game caused high flies to tail and carry more than normal. It resulted in several fielding errors.
“We had a couple miscues with that but that happens,” Bal said. “I told the girls it’s going to slice away from you. We’re going to get that in the first few games. We switched up our defense a little bit and we’re going to tweak that as we go.”
With the Broncos playing in their first action of the season, Goodrich said it was a good chance to see what the team is made of in the early going.
“It was a good chance for us to see how our main players are going to be throughout the year,” Goodrich said. “The second game was a chance for us to get all the girls in and switch things up and see where we might have secondary positions to develop.”
Norway visits Kingsford on Tuesday, while Bark River-Harris hosts Stephenson.
BR-H 000 251 — 8
Norway 200 102 — 5
BR-H 130 002 3 — 9
Norway 324 412 x — 16