Gering queens of the diamond in SHS Invitational
     2012-09-14      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Ken Kurtz/Spectrum Photo Sophomore Bulldog Jessica Rogers (No. 12) displays excellent form in the process of blasting a hit that took her to first base during a recent bout with Scottsbluff on Aug. 21. The Lady Bulldogs won the Scottsbluff Invitational last week with a perfect 5-0 record, a first for Coach Molly Bonuchi. 
For the first time since Molly Bonuchi has coached the Gering softball team, the Bulldogs pulled off a sweep in the six-team, round-robin Scottsbluff Invitational Tournament on Friday and Saturday.

By executing what Bonuchi said was a “total team effort,” Gering opened play Friday with dominating wins of 10-0 over Chadron, 21-1 over Alliance and 11-4 win over Gothenburg in what proved to be the deciding game of the tournament.

The Bulldogs’ dominance continued on Saturday with a 13-0 romp over Chase County and a 15-2 win over the Bearcats, Gering’s third win in as many tries on Scottsbluff’s home field this season.
The Bulldogs’ win over the Bearcats was actually a come-from-behind victory. After Scottsbluff posted its two runs in the top of the first inning, Gering answered with four runs in the bottom of the frame.

Isabel Thompson led off the Bulldogs’ comeback rally with a first-pitch home run off Bearcat pitcher Brianna Fliam (8-5). Jennifer Barge then tied the game with another solo homer, and Brooke Satur and Brooke Doggett drove in a run each in giving Gering the lead.

Then the Bulldogs erupted for 11 runs on nine hits in the second inning, enough to end the contest after three innings. Gering had 16 batters. Jessica Rogers drove home two runs to ignite the rally, and Thompson added a two-run single in an otherwise methodical rally that has become the Bulldogs’ trademark this season.

"That's one thing about this group is you can't get them down,” Bonuchi said. “And if you get them down, you've done a lot, because they scored a couple quick runs, then we exploded in the second inning and have scored more than that. That's just how they are."
The game ended after Scottsbluff got two runners on board, but Gering third baseman Maggie Martin reeled in a line drive then stepped on third base to complete an unassisted double play.
The Bulldogs finished the game with 14 hits. Thompson, Rogers, Barge, Satur, Doggett and Aubrey Gonzales led the assault with two hits each. Thompson, Rogers and Satur all drove in three runs apiece, while Thompson scored three runs. Every hitter in the Gering lineup scored at least one run.

Barge (13-2) scattered four hits and struck out five in three innings of pitching for the win.

Natalie Wooden led Scottsbluff with a 2-for-2 outing by getting a triple, double and scoring one run Zoey Rada also tripled and Barbara Calvert singled and drove in Mikka Salazar.
Gering cumulatively outscored its opponents 69-7 in the Bulldogs’ five wins.

"They played above and beyond any level I have seen them play,” Bonuchi said. “Friday night, defensively was the best I have seen this team played together when we played against Gothenburg, and they wanted to come out and do the same things (Saturday).
"But Jenn Barge did a great job and we didn't have to work much behind her defensively, so I think they did overtime with their offensive work."

On Friday, the Bulldogs followed their run-rule wins over Chadron and Alliance with their biggest test of the tournament against Gothenburg. Gering took a quick 2-0 lead and held the Swedes scoreless for the first three innings with solid defense behind Barge.

A run in the third and a five-run fourth inning opened the gates for Gering, with Satur hitting a triple and scoring on Doggett’s double to lead the rally. Barge also doubled in the frame.
Gothenburg scored twice in the bottom of the fourth, but Gering added three runs in the sixth for an 11-2 lead.
Barge picked up her third pitching win of the day, which followed two no-hit efforts for four such outings on the season, by scattering five hits and striking out six in six innings.
Gering finished the game with 16 hits, including nine extra base hits. Rogers was 3-for-3 with two runs scored, three RBIs and double. Satur finished 2-for-4 with a triple, a double and a run scored. Thompson went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, a RBI and a double; Shayla Garetto was 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two stolen bases; Barge was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a RBI; and Doggett was 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.
In Gering’s two earlier wins, Barge pitched went six innings in picking up two more no-hit wins. Alexa Longoria tossed one inning against Alliance, allowing a run.

Barge also continued her hot hitting. Against Chadron, she went 1-for-1 with a double, run scored and a RBI. Against Alliance, the senior went 1-for-2 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI.
Against Chadron, Gering scored eight times in the opening inning on its way to the 10-0 win. The Bulldogs ripped seven hits in the win, among which Rogers had a double, Satur hit a single and two runs scored, and Martin had a triple.

In its win over Alliance, Gering scored 11 times in the first inning and then added five runs each in the second and third inning for the 20-run rout.

Gering only had nine hits in the dominant win. Thompson went 2-for-2 with two doubles and three runs scored. Garetto had a single, two runs scored, and two RBI. Rogers was 2-for-3 with a triple, six RBI, and two runs scored.

Also for the Bulldogs, Aubrey Gonzales scored two runs and had an RBI. Doggett had a double, two runs scored and two RBIs, while Satur had three runs scored on a walk and two hit by pitches. Alexa Longoria had a triple, run scored and a RBI, and Martin had two runs scored.

"This is the first time we've gone 5-0 at the Scottsbluff tournament since I have been here, and that was another big goal they had was to win the tournament,” Bonuchi said. “They wanted to prove that they deserve to have the record they have and continue to get better."

Scottsbluff opened Saturday’s play with a 12-2, four-inning win over Chadron. Fliam allowed just three hits and struck out one. Lexi Webber, Calvert and Rada all had two hits each for the Bearcats. Rada drove in two and scored twice, Calvert scored three runs and Webber scored two runs.

Scottsbluff opened the tournament in strong fashion Friday by posting a pair of run-rule victories. The Bearcats downed Alliance 13-3 before registering a 14-2 triumph over Chase County.

Against Alliance, the Bearcats recorded 11 hits. Hannah Brown led the attack by going 2-for-2 with a double and three runs batted in. Calvert finished with a home run and two runs batted in. Both Rada and Savanna Betancur added doubles, while Rada also scored two runs.
Fliam earned the pitching win by striking out two in three innings of work. Sarah Cloud also struck out two in one inning in her pitching debut at the varsity level.

In its 12-run win against Chase County, Scottsbluff pounded out a season-best 19 hits. Calvert, Rada, Webber and Marissa Yonts all finished with three hits each.

Brown added two hits, including a solo home run over the right-centerfield fence. Calvert and Natalie Wooden also had homers for the Bearcats. Wooden drove in three, while Webber and Yonts drove in two. Webber had a triple and Rada had a double.

Fliam struck out two and allowed just four hits to pick up the pitching victory.

But in their first-day finale, the Bearcats were limited to just two hits against Gothenburg, which walked away with an 8-0 victory.
Fliam allowed eight runs on nine hits in six innings of work in taking the pitching loss.

"I thought our hitting was good,” Scottsbluff coach Kendall Vogel said in assessing the Bearcats’ tournament play. “We're improving at the plate in our mentality a little bit. We're making a few more plays on defense but we still need to make more plays behind our pitcher.

"We lost to Gering and Gothenburg which was all right, but the thing that gets me is that we didn't compete with them and play well enough and hard enough. Most of the other games we hit the ball well. The girls had a good effort, but they had a letdown and we don't know why. But Gering played well."

Gering, now 13-2, plays host to Scottsbluff (9-8) at the Carpenter Center in Terrytown, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:45 p.m.


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