Bulldog, Bearcat sluggers hammer opponents
     2014-09-04      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen - Gering freshman Paige Peterson lays down a bunt in the first game of the Bulldogs’ doubleheader sweep at Scottsbluff on Aug. 26. 
While the recent thunderstorms remained out of the area Tuesday night, both the Gering and Scottsbluff softball teams provided some thunderous action of their own in scoring respective four-inning, run-rule victories.

In the battle of the Bulldogs at Alliance, Gering unloaded for 12 fourth-inning runs, including a three-run home run by senior pitcher Mikayla Butler, on its way to scoring a 17-2 victory.
At Scottsbluff, the host Bearcats had a six-run second inning and polished off Chadron with a four-spot in the third, and senior pitcher Mikayla Fulk finished off her two-hit, complete-game effort with an alert putout at third to end Scottsbluff’s 12-1 triumph.

The teams’ wins followed a 2-1 finish for Gering in the Holdrege Tournament on Saturday, while Scottsbluff had not played since the Bearcats were swept by the Bulldogs at home last Tuesday.

Gering 17, Alliance 2

Until Tuesday, only senior Brooke Doggett had homered for the Bulldogs in their first eight games, with her third round-tripper In Gering’s 13-3, tournament-closing win over St. Paul on Saturday.
After two scoreless innings, Gering had Paige Peterson gain a leadoff walk in the third inning and Delany Dean reach on a sacrifice bunt.
Senior Isabel Thompson then drilled a three-run homer over the center-field fence for a 3-0 lead and starting a five-run rally in the third. Kaylee Bohnsack added an RBI single in the rally.

“We’ve been working on Isabel’s swing quite a bit,” said first-year Gering Coach Tim Gonzales, who succeeded former coach Molly Bonuchi and inherited a team that while it posted consecutive 20-win seasons returned just four seniors.

“With the coaching change and swing changes and little differences in coaches, I think the girls are adapting well and seeing the things we are trying to focus on. Isabel has put in a lot of hard work and pulled the glitches out of her swing.”

A pair of Gering errors led to Alliance scoring its first run in the bottom of the third before the visitors unloaded on pitcher Grace Tolstedt in the top of the fourth.

Gering took advantage of four Alliance errors to score twice on a single by Dean, an RBI single by Ciera Booker and Butler’s three-run homer in highlighting the dozen-run explosion.
“The team was very disciplined at the plate,” Gonzales said. “We had worked on making every pitch count and not giving away any pitch. I was proud of the way the girls went to the plate and made every pitch count.

“The Alliance pitcher was throwing right to left and the ball was tailing away, and she was catching corners. So in the second inning, everyone made an adjustment to pull the girls up in the box and cut the corner out of the box. So we made the adjustment and all of a sudden, there’s a big eruption.”

Butler got the win for Gering after allowing two runs over 3-1/3 innings. She struck out four, walked one
“My key word for Mikayla is just determination,” Gonzales said of Butler, particularly with her offense. “Everything that she does, can’t is not in her vocabulary. Mikayla is one of those girls who has been fortunate to do some things with her swing, and tonight it came at the right time.”

The win improved Gering to 7-2 on the season, a place Gonzales said he is pleasantly surprised to find the Bulldogs so early in the Bulldogs’ coaching transition. Alliance fell to 0-4.
“Just because with a new coach will come some new concepts, and they still like to do things a certain way, I am thankful and very pleased as well,” Gonzales said.

In the Holdrege Tournament, Gering was dealt an 11-0 loss to Hastings before the Bulldogs rebounded with victories of 12-0 over Blue Hill and the 10-run win over St. Paul.
“We’re pretty secure defensively and we were able to make a lot of
plays, no matter what team we played,” Gonzales said. “Again, the key word for us on improving is batting, and being confident and relaxed.”

“We do have four seniors who get on the ball really well, but we have some freshmen and sophomores who make us essentially a young team.”
Doggett ripped two triples and a home run Saturday in the tripleheader.

Against Blue Hill, Butler tossed a three-inning no-hitter while facing just nine batters. Butler tossed just 29 pitches in three innings of work, striking out two and walking one.
Butler aided her cause with two of the Bulldogs’ 12 hits. Doggett had the hot bat, going 3-for-3 with two runs scored, two RBI and a triple.

Thompson, Booker and Butler each had two hits. Butler had a double, two RBI and three runs scored, while Booker and Thompson each had two runs scored. Thompson led the team with two stolen bases.
Kaetlyn Todd was the only other Bulldog player who recorded an extra-base hit with a double.

In the final game, St. Paul scored the first run, but after that it was all Gering. The Bulldogs scored four first-inning runs before plating three in the second, third, and fourth innings to end the game via the run rule.
In the first inning, Bohnsack ripped a run-scoring double, and then Doggett followed with a two-run home run to left field to give Gering a 4-0 lead.

Doggett and Bohnsack each had four RBI. Doggett had a home run, while Bohnsack went 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Gering also got singles from Booker, Dean, Becca Svoboda and Jacey Marietta.
Marietta earned the win in the circle, facing just 17 batters in four innings. She threw 59 pitches, walking two, striking two and scattering six hits.

Gering’s tournament opening loss went sour went Hastings scored three first-inning runs then added seven in the third for the win. The Bulldogs netted just four hits in the contest, with Doggett making the only extra-base hit, a triple.
Gering’s next action also will come in tournament play, on Saturday at McCook. The Bulldogs will open against District B-6 foe Holdrege. Gering then plays host to Chadron in its home opener Tuesday at Oregon Trail Park, with varsity action set for 6 p.m.

Scottsbluff 12, Chadron 1

The host Bearcats (3-3) utilized their week away from playing action – a 14-8 ad 6-5 doubleheader sweep to Gering – to prepare for what will be a busy next two weeks.
“We keep improving every time we come out on the field,” said Scottsbluff coach Michael Gentry, whose team was right back in action Wednesday, when the Bearcats played host to Sterling, Colo. The game made up one of the teams’ season-opening doubleheader that was rained out on Aug. 22.

“We gave the girls a little bit of time off. We practiced pretty hard (Monday) because we have a big week. I wanted to give the girls a little bit of rest before we get going.”
The Bearcats then travel to Norfolk on Friday for tournament action Saturday, and they will return home to face Alliance on Tuesday beginning at 4 p.m. The annual Scottsbluff Tournament follows on Sept. 12 and 13.

Tuesday’s game against Chadron (1-3) was decided quickly with Scottsbluff scoring two first-inning runs and taking command with eight more runs in the second frame.
Senior Hannah Brown singled home two runs in the first inning. In the second, a three-run double by Zoe Holscher, an RBI double by Barbara Calvert, a sacrifice fly by Shelby Trussel and a solo home run by Brown gave starting senior pitcher Fulk a nice cushion with which to throw.

Calvert was in particular alert when she was held at third base on Trussel’s pop foul to Chadron first baseman Kaitlyn Haug. Haug took her time in returning the ball to pitcher Alex Menke, and Calvert slyly slipped off third and darted home to score what was the Bearcats’ seventh run.

“It was just good head-up play and she saw that they weren’t paying attention,” Gentry said of Calvert’s play, scored as a sacrifice fly – which, in turn, turned into a double sacrifice in Chadron’s minds.
In the field, the Bearcats proved alert in ending the game as well. Fulk had allowed one run over four innings, struck out two, walked two and surrendered two hits. But her nifty game-ending assist had most fans wondering what had happened.

With one out left, Fulk saw the Chadron runner at third slowly returning to the base after Fulk threw a first-pitch strike to the hitter. After she received the ball back at the circle, Fulk tossed the ball to third baseman Trussel, who recorded the game-ending putout.

Holscher racked up four RBI on three hits for Scottsbluff, and Brown matched Holscher with three total hits.

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