Opportunity knocked and Portage’s prep softball team answered.
In fact, it knocked and was welcomed inside more than just once.
Five Beaver Dam errors led to five unearned runs, providing Portage a big boost Thursday night as the Warriors were able to win 6-4 despite only managing four hits.
“We had a couple clutch hits when there were two outs, and that’s kind of the name of the game – you’ve got to put it in play; you can’t score if you don’t put it in play,” Warriors’ coach Connie Wampler said of her team creating its own luck.
“Madison (Jansen) pitched a good game, we just need to make sure we’re backing her up. We know we have (good) defense, we just have to get used to being outside (following the unseasonably cold weather the last few weeks),” Beaver Dam coach Abby Schmitt added of the flip side of that coin.
The wheels didn’t come off right away for Beaver Dam (1-1, 1-1 Badger North), though, as Portage (3-1, 3-1) went 1-2-3 in the top of the first inning.
But cleanup batter Megan Witt reached on an error to lead off the top of the second and later scored on Hanne Anderson’s two-out double to right center, giving the Warriors a 1-0 lead.
And an inning later Olivia Limmex was able to score when Joia Simonson reached on a two-out error, pushing Portage’s lead to 2-0.
Beaver Dam did answer in the bottom of the fourth when Hannah Coda blasted a solo homer to left center, but Portage answered right away in the top of the fifth when No. 8 batter Anna Kratz walked and later scored what was the Warriors’ only earned run on a two-out RBI single by Limmex that made it 3-1.
Portage also scored twice in the sixth and got a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly to right by Simonson – tallies that proved important because Beaver Dam never went away, scoring a run in the bottom of the fifth and another in the seventh to get the tying run to the plate.
“They’re a good hitting team and we knew that ahead of time. We knew that we were going to have to make some plays, and we just had to keep tacking on,” Wampler said of the Golden Beavers, who two nights prior banged out eight runs on six hits – with at least one hit, run scored, or RBI from every spot in the order – during an 8-4 win over Sauk Prairie and then in this one bounced back after striking out four times over the first three innings to only whiff twice over the final four.
Beaver Dam’s run in the fifth came off the bat of 5-foot-6 center fielder Paige Schumann, who was probably as surprised as anyone that the ball left the yard considering how the pitch just prior went for her.
“I had her squaring to bunt on the first pitch and the second pitch I let her swing away, and she hit it out of the park. So that was pretty cool to see,” Schmitt said. “We see her hitting off the pitching machine and off our pitchers (in practice) and we’re like, ‘She’s powerful.’ So we’re going to let her have a little more fun up there with the bat this year.”
In the seventh, Beaver Dam got a one-out walk from Grace Madeiros and then cut the deficit to two runs when she scored on a two-out single by Grace Scharfenberg, who was three-for-four in the contest.
But the rally ended when cleanup batter Mitty Schwartz grounded out to the shortstop, making a winner of Witt, who stranded runners at second in the fourth and fifth innings and runners at first in the sixth and seventh to preserve the lead.
“She’s focused and dialed in (this season),” Wamper said of Witt wiggling out of all those jams. “She’s confident, she stays calm (and) she believes in her defense; it wasn’t anything different than what she (knows) she needed to do.”
PORTAGE 6, BEAVER DAM 4
Portage 011 012 1 – 6 4 3
Beaver Dam 000 111 1 – 4 7 5
Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-k): P – Megan Witt (W, 7-7-3-2-6). BD – Madison Jansen (L, 7-5-1-2-3).
Leading hitters (two or more hits): P – Hanne Anderson 2x3. BD – Grace Scharfenberg 3x4. HR: BD – Hannah Coda 1, Paige Schumann 1. 2B: P – Megan Witt 1, Hanne Anderson 1. RBIs: P – Olivia Limmex 1, Joia Simonson 2, Hanne Anderson 2. BD – Grace Scharfenberg 1, Hannah Coda 1, Haylee Kasuboski 1, Paige Schumann 1.