Bulldogs avenge Thursday loss to Bearcats, take runner-up at North Platte Classic
     2014-09-25      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photos by Anthony Brathwaite/Gering Citizen - Gering freshman catcher Kaetlyn Todd reaches up to save Bulldog senior Mikayla Butler’s pitch from getting away during softball action against Scottsbluff on Thursday at Oregon Trail Park in Gering. 
If the Gering-Scottsbluff athletic rivalry wasn’t intense enough already, the Bulldog and Bearcat softball teams have taken it to a higher level in the past two weeks.
After Gering won both ends of a doubleheader on Aug. 26 with a pair of comeback wins, 14-8 and 6-5, Scottsbluff scored a 7-6, back-and-forth victory over the Bulldogs in the final contest of the Bearcats’ invitational tournament on Sept. 13.

Last Thursday at Oregon Trail Park, another intense matchup went the Bearcats’ way in the end, with Scottsbluff holding on for a 9-8 victory in a definite battle of wills.
Then on Saturday, the two teams met in the semifinals of the North Platte Classic. In this year’s series, dominated by which team makes the most of its opportunities, Gering scored eight runs in the fourth inning to down the Bearcats 11-5.

But it was Thursday’s meeting – although mired by four errors for each team – that best exemplified the survival of the fittest between these two rivals that are more balanced than they have been in four seasons.

“It was a big game, a lot of people hooting and hollering,” first-year Gering coach Tim Gonzales said of the game’s atmosphere.
After two scoreless innings – and Scottsbluff left two runners stranded at second and third bases while the Bulldogs left the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning – the Bearcats took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning.

Senior Hannah Brown singled and scored on senior Shelby Trussel’s double. Trussel then scored on a passed ball for the Bearcats’ second run.

Scottsbluff then increased its early lead to 4-0 with two more runs in the fourth inning. Senior Lou Ramirez scored on Brown’s single to right-center field, and then Holscher scored when Gering freshman third baseman Delaney Dean found herself trying to tag out Brown for the third out.
The delay in the tag was enough for Holscher to score the Bearcats’ fourth run, much to the displeasure of the Gering faithful. The Bulldogs, however, responded by scoring five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Senior Isabel Thompson drove home two teammates with a double to center, senior Ciera Booker drove home freshman Kaetlyn Todd on a groundout, and senior Mikayla Butler homered over the center-field fence to score Thompson and herself, giving Gering a 5-4 lead.
The lead was short-lived, with Scottsbluff tying the game in the top of the fifth when Bearcat senior Barbara Calvert scored on an errant Bulldog throw. However, the Bulldogs regained the lead at 6-5 when Peterson ran home after a Scottsbluff error.

The Bearcats got a tying run in the sixth when Ramirez scored on Brown’s groundout before Gering scored twice on Booker’s single that plated Thompson and Butler’s grounder scored Booker.
But the Bulldogs were unable to protect their 8-6 lead, with a Gering error bringing home Scottsbluff junior Chloey Reifschneider and Bearcat senior Alex Coward grounding out to score freshman Hannah McQuistan from third to tie the game at 8-all.

The Bearcats then took the lead when sophomore courtesy runner Tiersa Darley scurried home on a wild pitch by Butler.
Gering got one infield hit in the bottom of the seventh; otherwise, senior Scottsbluff pitcher Mikayla Fulk drew two groundouts and her sixth strikeout to polish off the Bearcats’ hard-earned victory.
Fulk survived allowing nine hits and eight runs (five earned) while walking three to earn the pitching win.

“We’re a relatively inexperienced team when it comes down to being in tight situations like this,” second-year Scottsbluff coach Michael Gentry said. “Last year we weren’t in very many close games, and it’s new to us.

“We have to find our confidence and find a way in an atmosphere like this where there a lot of people with the crowds on both sides. We have to find a way to keep that even keel and just keep our emotions in check.”

Butler took the loss for Gering after walking four, striking out six and allowing 11 hits and nine runs (four earned) in pitching all seven innings.
“They’re a good team, but when you’re committing errors, you can’t be up two runs and have three errors in the last inning,” Gonzales said. “We have some young girls and they’re learning a lot, and they’ll come around.

“And I tip my hat to Scottsbluff. They played well and well enough to get another win.”

Including the Bulldogs’ doubleheader sweep in August, Gering had won 12 straight games over Scottsbluff – going 5-0 in each of the past two seasons – after the Bearcats swept the Bulldogs in four games on their way to making state in 2011. Scottsbluff won the 2010 season series 3-2.

“It’s just a much better feel going into these games than it did last year,” Gentry said. “Our girls are believing in their abilities, we’re playing so much better, and I’m just proud of the girls.”

Rematch in N. Platte goes to Bulldogs

The Bulldogs and Bearcats were on track to meet again Saturday when they were placed in the same side of the North Platte Classic’s bracket. Gering took care of its first-round business by beating Lexington 13-3 in four innings, while Scottsbluff downed Chadron 9-3.
In the teams’ fifth meeting of the season, this time on neutral turf at the Dowhower Softball Complex in North Platte, the Bulldogs jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

A single by junior Brooke Doggett drove in Thompson for Gering’s first run. Butler then scored on a fielder’s choice and senior Allie Wilson scored on Peterson’s RBI single.
Scottsbluff pushed across two runs in both the first inning and the third frame to take a 4-3 lead.

In the first, Brown’s single scored Ramirez and Holscher, and the Bearcats went ahead when Trussel doubled home Brown and then scored on a wild pitch.

But Gering took advantage of four singles and six Scottsbluff errors to put together an eight-run rally in the top of the fourth. The rally included RBI singles by Thompson, Butler and Doggett, and another single by Todd that came between two Bearcat errors.
Scottsbluff added one run in the bottom of the fifth on McQuistan’s RBI single, but the Bearcats got no closer in the five-inning game.
Butler got the pitching victory despite scattering six hits, allowing five runs, walking two and striking out five.

Fulk was the game’s losing pitcher. She allowed 11 runs in five innings, walked three and struck out two.

Teams win openers, drop finales

In Gering’s opening win over Lexington, the Bulldogs unloaded for eight runs in the third inning on their way to taking the victory.
Gering scored in the third on an RBI single by junior Raemona Borgmann, an RBI single by Thompson, an RBI single by Booker, a two-run single by Butler, a sacrifice fly by Doggett, a passed ball, and a solo home run by Wilson.

Thompson had a double and triple in addition to her single for the Bulldogs. Booker, Butler, Thompson and Wilson combined for 10 hits and six RBI.
Butler got the win by striking out two, walking three and scattering four hits in the four-inning effort.

In reaching the final against Ralston, however, Gering was limited to three singles and shut out 9-0.
“The first game we came out and played like we can,” Gonzales said of Gering’s win over Lexington. “We were hitting the ball well and kind of put it to them.

“In the second game, we played Scottsbluff and played more sophomores to get ready for district time. We had a few errors in both games, but nothing like what we’ve been doing.”
Despite its six-run win over Chadron in the first round, Gentry said Scottsbluff did not play exceptionally well in beating the Cardinals (6-12).

Calvert racked up five RBI on three hits, including a three-run homer. Brown recorded the pitching win after she allowed three runs over six innings, struck out two, walked three and surrendered three hits.
Following the loss to Gering, Gentry said the Bearcats had nothing left against Kearney, suffering a 13-0, no-hit loss. Kearney scored 10 runs in the top of the first and three more in the third to end the game early.

Fulk was charged with the pitching loss. She allowed seven runs in one-third of an inning, walked none and struck out none.
“We didn’t play our best,” Gentry said of the Bearcats’ weekend. “We got off to a pretty flat start against Chadron. We were playing pretty well in the Gering game, we had them down 4-3 but then we made six errors in one inning, which led to eight runs and basically led to the game.

“And then that just carried over into the Kearney game. We were let down emotionally and physically, we were drained a little bit and we were kind of checked out after that second game.”

Gering sweeps Chase County

The Bulldogs began last week with a doubleheader sweep Tuesday over Chase County, 9-4 and 7-5, at Oregon Trail Park.
In the opener, Booker went 2-for-3 at the plate and rode Butler’s nine-strikeout performance. Butler allowed one earned run, seven hits and no walks over seven innings.

In the nightcap, Thompson went 3-for-4 at the plate, drove in one and scored two runs.
Even though Gering freshman Jacey Marietta allowed five runs over six innings, she still recorded the victory. Marietta struck out four, walked one and gave up 11 hits.
Both Gering and Scottsbluff will be in action today (Thursday) at the Gothenburg Duals at Ogallala after road trips Tuesday night that had the Bulldogs (18-6) at Chadron and the Bearcats (10-10) at Alliance.

The Bulldogs play McCook and Cozad in the Gothenburg Duals and close out the regular season Tuesday against Alliance in a 6 p.m. game at Oregon Trail Park. Gering will then be idle until the District B-6 tournament on Oct. 9 and 10 at Lexington.
After Scottsbluff’s Tuesday visit to Alliance, the Bearcats play Cozad and North Platte in today’s Gothenburg Duals. Scottsbluff then closes out its home schedule Saturday with a doubleheader against Chase County starting at noon.

The Bearcats then travel to Chadron on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. game in their final action before the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament at Hastings on Oct. 4.

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