|Bulldogs club Bearcats, 9-1: Gering breezes past SB for 4th conference title|
|October 08, 2015 Frank Marquez|
Photos by Frank Marquez/Gering Citizen - Delaney Dean and Paige Peterson make their way around the bases after Peterson hit her first homer of the season, knocking in two other runs in the third inning at Oregon Trail Park last week.
Gering’s Paige Peterson’s homer highlighted a big third inning for the Bulldogs as they brought out the lumber against Scottsbluff in a 9-1 decision at Oregon Trail Park a week ago.
Exploding on offense, the Bulldogs picked up seven runs in the third, and two more in the fourth to effectively put away the rival Bearcats in what otherwise might have become a pitching duel between Gering’s Jaycee Marietta and Bearcat freshman Jordyn Grasmick.
The win also meant a fourth consecutive Western Conference crown for Gering (18-10, 4-2 district).
“The outcome was great,” said Gering Head Coach Tim Gonzalez. “The girls hit really well. We were working on getting our offense going earlier, but it didn’t happen until the third inning. So, I was a little disappointed. The fact that it did happen, was good. The girls were really good with the sticks tonight.”
Starting today, the Bulldogs head into the B6 District Tournament as the No. 4 seed to take on the No. 5 seed Lexington Minutemen (9-14, 2-4 district). Last week, the Minutemen fell 14-1 to the Hastings Tigers in non-conference play. Last year, Gering defeated Lexington at districts. Later in the day, Gering faces the North Platte Bulldogs (14-18, 2-3 district).
Gonzalez, whose outlook on how the Bulldogs will do at the tourney remains positive, plans to take it one game at a time. Yet, opponents can’t overlook No. 1 seed the McCook Bison (6-0 district), who stand out as the team to beat. The Bison were not on Gering’s schedule this season.
“This group of girls has as good as chance as any team at districts to win it. With McCook, we’re not looking ahead. For our girls, it’s theirs for the taking; it’s up to them on how they go about doing it. It’s not physical. It’s getting our mental game going. As long as our mental game is the same as our physical game, then that will be good for us.”
Junior pitcher Jacey Marietta took the mound, notching four strikeouts in 5-1/2 innings work, consistent in getting one each inning. Scottsbluff scored their lone run in the first inning. An overthrow by Marietta to catcher Kaetlyn Todd produced one of only two errors on the game. The Bearcats took advantage of the mistake as Hana Nagasawa advanced to second base, then set her up to cross home plate on an RBI sacrifice by Chloey Reifschneider.
After a scoreless 2-1/2 innings, Marietta otherwise known as “Ocho” by her teammates, Tori Hoagland, Haylee Duyck, Kaylee Bohnsack, all made it to home plate. In the next offensive burst, catcher Todd and Delaney Dean made it to the corners at first and third, when Peterson went yard for three-run homer over centerfield.
“This was Paige’s first homer of the season,” Gonzalez said. “She’s a 15-year-old sophomore. As I said, we have a lot of sophomores, and I’m looking forward to seeing that class develop. She works really hard at batting; she’s a good listener, and really coachable. The homer was well-deserved.”
To wrap up scoring in the fourth, Gering added two runs by Duyck and Bohnsack. The Bearcats threatened in the fourth, loading the bases with Hailey Franklin, Kieyerah Twombly, and Hannah McQuistan. But the trio was left stranded as Marietta gathered steam. The next at-bats for the Bearcats struck out, and grounded out.
At the top of the fifth, tough defense by the Bulldogs snuffed any chance of a Bearcat rally. Aiding in that effort, third baseman Dean caught a line drive hit by Reifschnieider, then tagged runner Nagasawa, who was making a break for home plate on the play. Scottsbluff’s final at-bat popped up to center.
Bohnsack and Ducyk each scored two runs. Todd had three hits, while Hoagland, Duyck, and Peterson each had two hits. Peterson also recorded three RBIs, adding to her first career homerun.
Gering’s softball team gathers at home plate to congratulate Paige Peterson (wearing helmet center) on homerun against the rival Bearcats last week.