Bulldogs heading into stretch: Gering prepares for post-season with 5 games left
     2016-09-16      By Frank Marquez    editor@geringcitizen.com
The Gering Girls Softball team split a double-header with Chase County Longhorns at home Tuesday night.

Seven hits weren’t enough for the Bulldogs in a shootout, as Gering dropped the contest, 16-8, in five innings in the first game at Oregon Trail Park. In the second game, Gering prevailed with a tighter defense, and a strong showing on the mound from ace Jacey Marietta for the 5-2 result. Marietta, so far this season after pitching 79 innings, has a 7-6 record.

Gering, now 10-7 on the season, played rival Scottsbluff Bearcats on Thursday, September 15, and are scheduled to take on the Chadron Cardinals next Tuesday, September 20, on the road.

Over the weekend, at the Scottsbluff Tournament, Gering downed Alliance, 15-1; pounded Chase County, 19-1; suffered narrow defeats at the hands of Gothenburg, 3-1, and Scottsbluff, 10-9; and wrapped things up, taking the tourney title, in its final game against Chadron – a 9-5 win over the Cardinals Saturday afternoon.

“We’re up and down,” said Gering’s Head Coach Tim Gonzales. “We have had some really good play going on. Then, at times, not so great play. We’re also battling injuries right now.” The team is currently without starting catcher Kaetlyn Todd, who is out with a knee injury, and senior second baseman Becca Svoboda, who went out in the game against Chadron with a concussion, and is day to day.

“We’re taking some lumps now,” Gonzales said. “We haven’t had that issue before. We usually have been pretty solid, and the team last season was largely injury free. We’re taking it game by game, and trying to improve on every game.” At the Scottsbluff Invite, and in the double-header against Chase County, “We went to Tori Hoagland. (Tuesday) we had to bring in Marietta to contain. We realize that sometimes, she’s going to take the loss.”

Meanwhile, Gering’s junior varsity is on a roll with a 7-2 record. Assistant softball coach Jacque Marquez noted developing players Kiana Island, Marley Garcia and Kelsey Bohnsack have led the JV squad in getting those majority wins.

On Tuesday night, it was a good day at the plate for the Gering’s Delany Dean, who went 2-of-4 and scored two runs, racking up singles in the first and fourth innings.

Katelyn Wheeler got the win for Chase County despite allowing eight runs over five innings. She struck out two, walked five and surrendered seven hits.

The Longhorns Wheeler, Andrea Page, Destiny Reinke, and Josie Peterson combined for 10 hits and 11 RBIs.

Gering’s Marietta was the game’s losing pitcher. She allowed nine runs in two innings, walked one and struck out none.

Chase County jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first. A double by Josie Peterson, bringing home Reinke started the inning off. The Longhorns then tacked on more runs when Peterson scored on an RBI single by Wheeler.

It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to respond as they scored three runs of their own in the first. Gering scored on a groundout by Island, a steal of home by Kaylee Bohnsack, and an error.

Gering answered Chase County’s top inning with four runs of their own in the third. The Bulldogs scored on an RBI single by Tori Hoagland, a two-run single by Paige Peterson, and an RBI double by Anessa Escamilla.

The lead stayed with Chase County after the fourth, when it scored nine runs on a two-run double by Reinke, an error, a passed ball, and three singles.

In the second game, the Bulldogs jumped on Chase County early. In seven innings, they scored three runs in the first inning, already producing the margin for victory.

Gering scored in the first on an RBI double by Jessica Svoboda and a two-run double by Island.

Svoboda reached base two times, while scoring two runs and producing one RBI.

Marietta recorded the win. She allowed two runs over seven innings. She struck out two, walked one and gave up seven hits.

Josie Peterson was the game’s losing pitcher. She lasted six innings, walked four, struck out one, and allowed five runs.

After pushing one run across in the top of the second, the Longhorns faced just a 3-1 deficit. An RBI double by Megan Engbrecht triggered a short-lived Chase County rally and scored Jade Allen to end the Chase County threat.

The Bulldogs tacked on another two runs in the fifth. A ground out scored Bohnsack for the inning’s first run.

“Why we play the game is the biggest motivation point,” Gonzales said. “I believe having a young team, a majority of juniors and sophomores, and only four seniors, we’re kind of getting led by underclassman. As for pitchers, they just have to go out and do their job. The defense has to their job, with trying to get pop ups and ground outs. ‘D’ wise, we need to get a lot better. That comes with age. We’re looking forward to the (regular season) stretch, trying to put our game together … We have not seen our best team, yet.”

Gering’s regular season ends on September 27 against Alliance. If things go their way, the Bulldogs will have 15 wins and a solid foundation heading into District play in October. “We have to get prepped for post-season,” Gonzales said. “We’ve got to get some things figured out, and get our best team out there.”

Sources: GameChanger, MaxPreps.

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