Gering’s Butler 1-hits Chadron in 9-0 win: Bulldogs ride 7-run, outburst in 3rd inning, 2 home runs to gain 2nd home victory
     2013-09-12      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen Gering third baseman, junior Isabel Wolf tags out Chadron’s Brittany Garza during Tuesday night’s blowout at Oregon Trail Park. It seems the Lady Bulldogs cannot be stopped on their home turf, having defeated Chadron 9-0 in the fifth inning. 
What a difference three days can make.
After battling through sweltering heat and humidity Saturday at the McCook tournament, the Gering softball team returned to its new home Tuesday night at Oregon Trail Park.

And while the Bulldogs’ first two innings of at-bats were much like the cooler temperatures that followed Tuesday’s late-afternoon rain shower, the Gering offense came to life with seven runs in the third inning.

Two more runs in the fourth inning, combined with a one-hit, five-strikeout pitching effort by junior Mikayla Butler, resulted in a 9-0 victory for the Bulldogs in a five-inning contest.

Gering coach Molly Bonuchi said the Bulldogs’ first two innings of being shut out and allowed just one hit by Chadron junior pitcher Alex Menke may have been repercussion from the long, hot day of action in McCook, where the Bulldogs lost their first game but won their second two.

“I don’t know if it was just the weather, but offensively and the way we typically play fundamentally, we were a little slow coming out tonight,” Bonuchi said. “Then were able to explode in the third.”

Bulldog junior Isabel Wolf lit the fuse by drawing a leadoff, full-count walk and scored on sophomore Haylee Duyck’s following full-count triple to right-center. Junior Isabel Thompson’s hard-hit single through Chadron third baseman Danea Ray scored Duyck for a 2-0 Gering lead.

After Thompson stole second base, she scored on an error at shortstop off a ball hit by junior Ciera Booker. Junior Jessica Rogers followed with a single to left, setting up junior Brooke Doggett’s three-run home run over the left-field fence to give the Bulldogs a 6-0 advantage.

Butler then tripled to left, and senior courtesy runner Shelby Schanaman scored on senior Alexa Longoria’s double to complete the seven-run rally.

Duyck led off the Gering fourth inning with a single to third base, and she scored when Thompson cleared the left-center field fence for a two-run homer and all the runs the Bulldogs and Butler needed to end the game in five frames.

Butler allowed a one-out single to Chadron sophomore Mikki Hastings, but a runner who had been hit by a pitch was caught trying to advance to third base on the play. A groundout then ended the game.

“Fundamentally, I think this is probably the best game we’ve played this season,” Bonuchi, whose team improved to 9-4 with the victory.

Thompson and Duyck led the Bulldogs’ nine-hit attack with two hits apiece. Thompson was 2-for-3 with two runs and three runs batted in, while Duyck went 2-for-2 with two runs and one RBI.

The Bulldogs will return to action in the Scottsbluff Invitational on Friday and Saturday, where they were unbeaten in their five tournament games last year.

Gering opens play Friday at 9 a.m. against Chadron then plays Alliance at 1:30 p.m. and Gothenburg at 6 p.m. On Saturday, the Bulldogs play Chase County at 10:30 a.m. and Scottsbluff at 3 p.m.

“Obviously we have big expectations,” Bonuchi said. “We won the tournament last year, and that is our expectation and goal again.”

Gering then travels to Imperial to play Chase County in a doubleheader at 4:30 p.m. The Bulldogs’ home finale will be next Thursday, Sept. 19, when they play host to Scottsbluff in a single game at 6:45 p.m.


Gering 2-1 at McCook

After losing to tournament host McCook 5-3 in its opener, Gering bounced back to claim fifth place Saturday with an 8-3 win over Chadron and a 6-0 blanking of Gothenburg.

“Offensively I didn’t think we played very well last weekend,” said Bonuchi, whose team was held to four hits in the loss to McCook. “It was pretty hot, and I’m not blaming it on that, but it was pretty humid and hot.”

Butler provided the Bulldogs’ offensive highlight with her three-run home run in the fourth inning that accounted for all of Gering’s scoring. The Bison had led 5-0 after three innings.

Butler had command of Chadron in the consolation semifinal, striking out five Cardinals in four innings of work with no walks allowed.

Offensive support, which turned a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 lead in the second inning, came from Rogers’ 3-for-3, three-run, one-RBI effort and Doggett’s 2-for-3, two-RBI outing. Both Rogers and Doggett had a double and triple apiece.

The Bulldogs finished on a strong note with their five-hit shutout win over Gothenburg.

Butler gave up no runs on four hits with four strikeouts and one walk in five innings of work, and Duyck held the Swedes to one hit and one walk in the sixth and final inning. In addition, the Gering defense finished the game without an error, committing only four miscues in all three games.

Rogers capped off a seven-hit day, going 3-for-3 with three doubles and three RBI, while Booker added a 2-for-3 performance at the plate with a double, triple, one run and one RBI.


Scottsbluff struggles at Norfolk

The Bearcats fell to 1-10 on the season after they were swept in all three of their games Saturday at the Norfolk Invitational.

Scottsbluff lost a 14-0 decision to Blair, a 10-3 setback to Columbus and 11-2 to Norfolk.

Bearcat junior Barbara Calvert had two of Scottsbluff’s three hits against Norfolk. The Bearcats were held to two hits against Blair and four against Columbus.

Scottsbluff will be the host for the SHS Invitational, which begins Friday and continues through Saturday.

On Friday, the Bearcats will play Alliance at 9 a.m., Chase County at 10:30 a.m. and Gothenburg at 1:30 p.m. On Saturday, Scottsbluff faces Chadron at 1:30 p.m. and Gering at 3 p.m.

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