Gering softball team 3rd in North Platte tourney: Bulldogs take 2 run-rule wins over Bearcats in 3 days
     2012-09-21      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Ken Kurtz/Spectrum Photo Bulldog senior Shayla Garetto (No. 1) heads home while coach Molly Bonuchi directs other runners to keep going at a recent game against Chadron. The Lady Bulldogs are having a solid season, having realized a record of (18-3) before a setback in North Platte, where they placed third in last week’s tourney. 
Gering softball team entered Saturday’s North Platte Tournament on a roll.

And despite losing to the host Bulldogs in the semifinals, the Gering Bulldogs rediscovered their winning ways in capturing third place with their second win over Scottsbluff in three days.

On the heels of a 12-4, five-inning victory over Scottsbluff at the Carpenter Center on Thursday night, the Bulldogs steamrolled the Bearcats 12-1 in six innings for third place at North Platte.

Gering opened the tourney with a 14-2, three-inning victory over Chadron before the Bulldogs fell to Class A North Platte 12-5.

The win over Scottsbluff (10-11) lifted Gering’s record to 18-3, which included a winning streak of 12 before the setback to North Platte but a run that the Bulldogs turned into 13 wins in 14 games by downing the Bearcats for the fifth time this season.

Although after Thursday’s win, Gering coach Molly Bonuchi said she and the Bulldog players had no idea that they were on a double-digit winning streak.

“We don’t keep track of stats, the only thing we do is come out one game at a time. if you ask them their record, they won’t know. We’re trying to keep it down to earth and in reality.”

Gering senior pitcher Jennifer Barge, who had recorded four no-hit efforts this season, found herself in her own reality check Thursday night.

Barge struggled with her rise ball and walked 10 Scottsbluff batters with just one strikeout. Barge issued four walks in Scottsbluff’s third inning, in which the Bearcats scored all four of their runs — three on Betsy Holscher’s bases-loaded triple.

But when Bonuchi brought in junior No. 2 pitcher Alexa Longoria from right field to warm up for relief in the third inning, Barge righted her ship and the Bulldog defense gave her strong support.

“She’s been throwing really well and dominating most of the competition, but we have to get her into reality and let your defense work,” Bonuchi said of Barge, who stood at 16-3 following a 3-1 week. “We’re a team and they just continue to bring each other up and support each other.

“The good think about this team is they are very diverse. A lot of it, and I can’t take credit for, is you have to be able to read the defense and be able to get it done.”

Gering entered the third inning with a 6-0 lead, scoring three in the first frame that included Brooke Satur’s two-run single. In the second, Longoria finished a seven-pitch leadoff at-bat against Bearcat senior Brianna Fliam with a single and scored on sophomore Isabel Thompson’s one-out single.

Thompson and sophomore Jessica Rogers, who gained base on a Scottsbluff error, scored on a wild pitch to junior Aubrey Gonzales.
Thompson had an inside-the-park home run to score the first of Gering’s two runs in the fourth inning.

And after Barge threw just nine pitches in retiring the Bearcats in the fifth inning, the Bulldogs closed out the game via run rule with a six-inning rally that ended with Rogers’ two-RBI triple.
In taking the pitching loss, Fliam had four strikeouts and four walks while allowing 11 Gering hits. Barge finished by allowing just one Scottsbluff hit with one strikeout in spite of her 10 walks allowed.

Thompson was 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs and two RBI with her solo homer. Satur was 2-for-3 with two RBI and one run scored, while Gonzales went 2-for-3 with a run and sophomore Brooke Doggett added a run-scoring triple.

In North Platte on Saturday, Gering scored 11 times against Chadron in the first inning and cruised to the shutout victory for Longoria.
Roger spaced the Bulldogs with a 3-for-3 game, including a double, a home run, and six RBI. Her home run was a two-run shot in the first inning.

Senior Shayla Garetto finished the game 2-for-2 with three runs scored, an RBI and two stolen bases, while Gonzales was 1-for-3 with a double.

Longoria struck out one and allowing four Chadron hits in her three-inning victory.

Gering got off to a rough start against North Platte by allowing seven first-inning runs to the host Bulldogs. Gering scored four times in the third inning but surrendered a run each in the second and fourth innings and four runs in the third.

North Platte out-hit the Bulldogs 10-3. Thompson had two runs scored and hit a triple, while Garetto had two RBIs, a run scored and a double; and Barge hit a double with two RBI.

Barge took the loss, going just over an inning in striking out two and walking six. Longoria finished the game, striking out one and walking four.

Longoria (2-0) then picked up the win against Scottsbluff, giving up four hits while striking out three and walking one in the six-inning victory.

Scottsbluff scored its lone run in the first inning, when senior leadoff hitter Natalie Wooden scored on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Barbara Calvert.

Gering scored in five of the six innings, including three times in the second and four runs in the sixth.

Thompson led the team with a 2-for-4 game, including a run scored, two RBI and a home run. Her home run came in the second inning for two runs.

Also for the Bulldogs, Garetto was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two stolen bases; Barge was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two doubles; Rogers was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a double; an Doggett was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a double.

Scottsbluff Bearcats

For the Bearcats, Wooden had the only extra base hit with a double.
Scottsbluff opened the tournament with a 21-7 win over Lexington before falling 11-1 to Lincoln North Star and then the loss to Gering.

The Bearcats ripped 16 hits in their three-inning win over Lexington. The Minutemaids were ahead of Scottsbluff 6-5 after 1 1/2 innings before the Bearcats scored three times in the second.
Scottsbluff then sealed the lopsided victory with 13 runs in the third inning.

Fliam earned the pitching victory, scattering seven hits while striking out three.

Junior Mikka Salazar had a single, double and triple with four RBI. Calvert went 3-for-4 with a double and four RBI, while senior Zoey Rada went 2-for-3 with a triple and four RBI. Senior Lexi Webber went 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBI.

In Scottsbluff’s loss to Lincoln North Star, the Bearcats scored their only run in the first. North Star then opened up the contest with four runs in the second and five in the fourth for the win. Fliam took the loss in the circle.

Scottsbluff had just six hits, with Holscher going 2-for-3 with two singles.

Both Gering and Scottsbluff took to the road on Tuesday, with the Bulldogs traveling to Chadron and the Bearcats at Alliance. Both teams then play in a triangular in Ogallala on Thursday. Scottsbluff will face Southern Valley and Cozad, while Gering will take on Cozad and McCook.

Gering completes its regular-season schedule next Tuesday against Alliance with a 5:30 p.m. contest at the Carpenter Center.




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