Jeeps escape close call with Bluejackets, 11-8

BY JONATHAN SAXON

jsaxon@dcherald.com

DUBOIS — Life has a way of flipping the script on you during moments where you least expect it, and the Northeast Dubois softball team were given a stark reminder of that during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Mitchell Bluejackets.

The Jeeps jumped out to a huge lead early, and looked like they could closeout the Bluejackets in only five innings. But Mitchell posted together some scrappy hits late which, coupled with pitching issues for the Jeeps, allowed the Bluejackets to score eight runs late and climb back into the game. It would take a triple play in the sixth inning, but the Jeeps managed to finally stop the rally and escaped with an 11-8 win.

Jeeps (12-7-1, 4-2) coach Dion Terwiske said the triple play initiated by senior shortstop Brooklyn Dodd was everything the Jeeps needed not just to end the sixth inning, but also quell the momentum the Bluejackets (8-8, 3-3) were building as they tried to use every hit and walk they could muster to steal the game late.

“That saved us,” he said. “Without that I’m not sure what would have happened. You never expect that, but that sure helped. In my opinion that sealed the deal.”

Before then the game was a one-sided affair. After fanning the first three Bluejackets batters, sophomore catcher Becca Brosmer ledoff the bottom of the first with a triple and scored the game’s first run on a passed ball. Dodd and freshman third baseman Hadley Fuhrman followed with a single and double respectively during the next at-bats. Junior starting pitcher Camryn Stemle hit a pop-fly which was caught in right field, but it allowed Dodd to run in and score. Sophomore right fielder Alexus Royer batted in Fuhrman after reaching second base on a fielding error, and senior second baseman Elizabeth Kunz used a sacrificial hit to drive in junior first baseman Macie Brinkman, who got on base earlier after being plunked by sophomore starter Josie Campbell.

Five more runs came in the second inning. First, Fuhrman doubled to drive in freshman center fielder Brinley Royer, who got on base with a walk. Then Stemle clipped a triple to score Fuhrman; she would be replaced by freshman courtesy runner Kaylin Mathies. Brinkman sent another triple back out to right field to score Mathies, and Alexus Royer capped off the bottom of the second with a two-run homer to right center field which put the Jeeps up 9-0 going into the third inning.

Two more runs would come via hits from Dodd and Fuhrman in the third inning, but the cracks started to show for the Jeeps in the fifth. Stemle, who was dealing with a shoulder injury, was replaced on the mound in the fifth inning by Fuhrman. But Fuhrman, who was nursing a rib injury of her own, had some trouble locating the strike zone which lead to three walks and bases loaded. Passed ball during Campbell’s at-bat allowed sophomore left fielder Mattie O’ Shields and senior catcher Gracie Haas to score the Bluejackets’ first two runs. Campbell then hit into a force out play at first base, but her sacrifice allowed sophomore center fielder Audrey Young to put up run number three.

The Jeeps then sent sophomore Mia Smith to the mound in the sixth inning, but the Bluejackets closed the gap with five more runs. Sophomore right fielder Madison Clark opened the sixth with a single and her courtesy runner, sophomore Macaylan Earl, was driven in by O’ Shields. Walks from Young, Campbell, and junior shortstop Sierra Cox scored the next three runs, and an RBI single for senior first baseman Emma Terrell brought the Bluejackets within three runs of the Jeeps with no outs in the top of the sixth.

But, Dodd caught a break for the Jeeps. With the bases loaded, Junior third baseman Paige Lawrence hit a line drive right at Dodd. She then turned quickly and took advantage of the out of place base runners, first gunning it to second base before another relay throw resulted in a force out at first base. The triple play abruptly ended the inning and stopped the bleeding for the Jeeps. They secured the victory by closing out the last three Bluejackets batters in the top of the seventh inning.

“I was like, ‘Girl at second she’s off the base, girl at first is off the base,’” said Dodd. “My momentum is already taking me there, so I might as well get three-in-one. And I did  and I was like ‘Holy crap!’ I’ve never seen anybody get a triple play, so that was pretty cool.”

Stemle pitched four innings for three hits, two walks, and five strikeouts. Fuhrman pitched an inning for one hit, three runs (two earned), and three runs. Smith allowed two hits, five runs, and three walks in her sixth inning stint, and Kunz finished the game with a strikeout. Alexus Royer finished 1-for-3 with the homer and three RBI. Fuhrman went 2-for-4 with two RBI, and Stemle went 1-for-3 with two RBI.

Campbell pitched six innings for eight hits, 10 runs (eight earned), four walks, and three strikeouts. Campbell also went 1-for-3 with two RBI, while Terrell finished 2-for-3 with an RBI.

“It was definitely a team effort,” said Royer. “We all kept our heads up. We had to play as a team or everything would have fell apart.”

“I’m really proud of them they way they stayed with it and focused on getting the win,” added Dodd. “We needed to all be together. Getting the whole team together to backup the pitcher was the key to winning the game.”

Despite the close call, the win on Saturday made it six in a row for the Jeeps as they look to get back to full health going into sectional. Terwiske credits the team’s recent success with their new-found aggressive approach at the plate, which has produced hits with a lot more zip and naturally more opportunities to score.

“We’ve been getting better at-bats in the box,” he said. “I’ve been on them about being more aggressive early in the count and we’ve had better at-bats. Whenever we weren’t playing so well we were getting into too many two-strike counts, then you don’t have an aggressive swing.”




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