The Baraboo Thunder softball team capped a two-game, two-day sweep of Reedsburg Blue 18U in convincing fashion with an 11-1 victory in six innning son Tuesday.
Errors were down, hits were up and strikeouts were aplenty for the Thunder, who seem to be peaking at the right time as they prepare for the annual Thunder Classic tournament that begins Friday.
“The girls are playing some darn good ball right now,” Baraboo coach Pat Henry said. “They’re hitting the ball, they’re aggressive on the bases, the pitching is coming through and the catching is coming through. I think we had one or two errors, so that really helps.”
Reedsburg threatened with two outs in the opening frame, as Renee Tourdot and Tresa Jo Koopmeiner hit back-to-back singles while a walk juiced the bases, but Baraboo pitcher Emma Crary got a strikeout to get out of the jam. It was the second of five strikeouts for Crary, who threw her second straight complete game.
“Emma is a special kid. She has practiced hard, a lot of practicing,” Henry said. “She comes through constantly, putting the pitches where I want her to put them. You know that’s really been the key to our success this year.”
Jade Parchem and Addie Filus walked with two outs in the bottom of the first and advanced on a wild pitch, before Callie Hammermeister drilled a two-run triple in the right-center field gap to give Baraboo a 2-0 lead.
“Callie has really been coming through with the hitting,” Henry said. “It’s been a battle with her to try and get her to swing (correctly), but she’s coming through.”
Baraboo added two more runs in the second, which began with two walks issued by Reedsburg’s Olivia Fry. Haley Hannagan drove in a run with a single to left field, and Parchem knocked in another run to make it 4-0. Hannagan was caught in a rundown during the play, but the damage was done as the extra runs gave the Thunder confidence in the field.
Baraboo’s tenacity was shown in the next half-inning, especially by Hannagan, who was moved to right field. After a leadoff walk, Hannagan made a quick grab in the grass and proceeded to throw to first to convert a 9-3 double play.
“Haley Hannagan came in and is just on it. She’s hitting the ball, and she’s fielding well,” Henry said. “I moved her over to right field because we played (Reedsburg) last night, and I’ve seen a lot of (opponents) hit behind Emma. So they’re hitting a lot of them to right field, and I put my star in right field to make those plays.”
Filus hit one up the middle to start the bottom of the third and Hammermeister added a double, but both were stranded after two strikeouts and a flyout.
Reedsburg scored its lone run in the fifth inning when Lexi Selje singled and advanced on a wild pitch, then came home on a blooper to right field that was nearly corralled by Hannagan.
Baraboo pulled away in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four runs to take a commanding 8-1 lead. Filus, Kirstyn Mathis and Crary all singled before Bailey Babcock hammered an RBI triple over the head of Reedsburg’s right fielder to make it 7-1. Some miscommunication thwarted Reedsburg from there as Aria Schindler reached on a bunt and so did Hannagan, who reached when nobody covered first base. After a conference in the circle with Reedsburg’s coach, a walk from Parchem loaded the bases, but a strikeout stranded three.
Baraboo ended the game in the sixth with three more runs, taking advantage of three Reedsburg errors in the inning.
“These girls have played a long time together, and they struggled a lot of years getting used to the game. But this year and last year, they’ve been playing some really good ball, so I’m really, really proud of all of them,” Henry said.
The Thunder, which only has one loss in non-tournament play, will host Reedsburg Red today before they begin the Thunder Classic on Friday. The Thunder had a solid result in the Gem City Challenge last month, taking second in the 16U division.
“(I wasn’t) disappointed at all, it’s a great (result), a great second place, but these girls want a first,” Henry said of the team’s goals this weekend. “And I want to get that for them. They deserve it.”