Cats take down Evansville Central

Photo by JImmy Lafakis/The Herald
Jasper senior Kendyl Ruhe (7) throws over to first base during the second inning of Tuesday evening’s game against Evansville Central in Jasper.


JASPER — Blustery winds blew straight out of center field before Jasper (2-0, 1-0) began its Southern Indiana Athletic Conference contest against Evansville Central on Tuesday evening. The winds eventually died down, but a steady drizzle dripped down on the diamond.

The elements were unpredictable, but Wildcats senior pitcher Mia Werner was unfazed by the conditions in Jasper’s 10-0 win over Central in five innings. Werner shut down the Bears in the first three innings, then helped herself at the plate.

Jasper started off the third frame with two walks before Werner smashed a deep drive in the left-center gap. Her single tacked the Cats’ first run on the board. Jasper junior Megan Matheis dropped a bloop RBI single into right field before two more runs came home on a subsequent error. Senior Hannah Schwenk ripped a run-scoring rope into center field, and the Cats took a 6-0 lead after another Central error on a ground ball.

Three hits, six runs.

“The trail runners were on point and ready to move up to the next base,” Jasper head coach Matt Pryor said. “I love to see us being able to execute the small ball. We had several sacrifice situations today where we got the ball down and moved runners over. I’m very proud of us being able to play textbook softball when we needed to.”

The Bears moved two runners into scoring position in the top of the fourth inning. Pressure intensified with two outs on the board, but Werner kept the shutout alive with a strikeout.

Jasper loaded the bases with just one out in the bottom of the fourth. The Cats mustered two more runs after senior Kendyl Ruhe walked and sophomore Erin Mehringer came home on a wild pitch. The insurance runs added more weight to the insurmountable lead.

“That’s what we talked about in the dugout — ‘Don’t look up at the scoreboard, it’s 0-0,’ ” Pryor said. “It’s natural to see a team kind of relax a little bit, get more goofy and have a little bit more fun in the dugout. You’re winning, and I get that. You want to rein your team and focus. It’s still just one at-bat. You treat it the same whether you’re up or down. It’s just one pitch, one at-bat, one out. That was our focus.”

Central snapped Werner’s no-hit bid in the top of the fifth inning, but Jasper regrouped and shut the Bears down. Werner forced a lineout to first base to end the bases-loaded threat.

Matheis and Jasper sophomore Hillary Springer clinched the run-rule victory with a pair of RBI singles to the outfield. Pryor lauded the Cats’ attitudes in the inclement conditions.

“I said, ‘This very well could be a sectional night,’ ” he said. “It might be warmer, but it could be sloppy and muddy like this. There’s no excuses. It’s an uncontrollable.”

Werner finished her one-hitter with five strikeouts and three walks. She earned her second win of the young season.

“Tonight, she had three good pitches,” Pryor said. “For her to have that many weapons and be able to spot those weapons, it’s a lot easier to call pitches. It’s a lot easier to defend. Our defense knows exactly where we’re trying to get the ground ball to. When you get a pitcher that has multiple pitches and can spot the fastball, it’s pretty rewarding as a defense to play behind it.”

Jasper will be back at it at 8 p.m. Friday at home against Castle, another conference foe.

“You want to go up against a giant like Castle,” Pryor said. “You want to go against the best.”

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