Bulldogs sweep Bearcats in season-opening doubleheader
     2012-08-23      By Terry Gaston   
SCOTTSBLUFF — A long, hot first day of school Tuesday might have played a factor in the Gering softball team’s slow start in the Bulldogs’ season-opening doubleheader against Scottsbluff.
After falling behind the host Bearcats 3-0 after one inning and 4-1 after two frames, however, the cylinders clicked for Gering.
The Bulldogs spent the next 40 minutes rolling up 14 runs on 10 hits and six Scottsbluff errors, and senior pitcher Jennifer Barge overcame some early-inning jitters to shut down the Bearcats in a 17-4, four-inning romp.
Gering then extended its unanswered run streak into Game 2 with six first-inning runs and added three in each of the fourth and sixth innings for a 12-4 victory to complete the sweep.
“They said they were a little nervous, being the first games on the first day of school,” said fourth-year Gering coach Molly Bonuchi, whose 13-14 team last season was 0-4 against Scottsbluff’s 26-7, state-qualifying team.
“It just took us a couple innings go get us jump-started and we just continued to play the way the we play, and they just continued to play hard all the way around.”
In the season opener, sophomore leadoff hitter Isabel Thompson led the Bulldogs by going 4-for-4 with two of Gering’s six doubles and scoring three runs.
Barge, who allowed Scottsbluff all of its four runs and five hits in the first two innings, had three strikeouts and retired the last seven Bearcat batters in order.
Barge aided her winning effort by hitting 2-for-3, both hits for doubles, with a walk and scoring three runs.
Senior Shayla Garetto also went 2-for-3 with a walk and three runs, while sophomore Brooke Doggett had a 2-for-4, two-run game with an RBI double.
Senior Brooke Satur put the cap on the Bulldogs’ 14-run explosion with a two-run single that gave her three RBI.
“They were just popping doubles off the fence, and that was all it took was for one of them to get us started, and it just came as a chain reaction,” Bonuchi said. “They were able to stay disciplined, even though the first couple innings were slow for us in each game, and continued to hit some runs in.”
The second game ended with another run-rule victory, which the Bulldogs began with a 6-0 lead that featured a two-run single by junior Alexa Longoria.
However, Scottsbluff (1-3) closed the gap to 9-4 after four innings to stay competitive.
Barge (2-0) allowed six hits in the nightcap with six strikeouts and three walks. She retired eight straight Bearcats before Scottsbluff added its final two runs in the fourth inning.
Barge and Doggett were both 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and walk and two runs scored, while Garetto was 2-for-4 with two runs.
Gering returns to action Saturday in the
Scottsbluff began its season Saturday with a split against Sterling, Colo., with the Tigers winning the opener 8-1 and the Bearcats rallying for a 13-12 win in Game 2.

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