By Matt Dahlseid
TRACY - Monday's softball doubleheader between Dawson-Boyd and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton was one in which each of the two teams felt like if it wasn't scoring runs, it was falling behind.
Photo by Matt Dahlseid
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton’s Casey Iverson, right, slides into home plate while Dawson-Boyd catcher Justine Flattum tries to apply a tag during the second inning of Game 1 of Monday’s Camden Conference doubleheader played in Tracy. Flattum was unable to maintain control of the ball and Iverson was safe at the plate for the Panthers’ third run of the game.
The Blackjacks and Panthers set a furious offensive pace over the two games, combining for a total of 56 hits and 43 runs. In the end, it was the walks that caught up with the Blackjacks and helped the Panthers prevail. Dawson-Boyd pitchers surrendered 15 walks and hit three batters.
TMB won Game 1 11-9, scoring runs in every inning but then seventh. Then in Game 2, the Blackjacks came back from a two-run deficit to tie the game in the top of the seventh before Blackjack pitcher Sadie Zaiser surrendered three straight walks to load the bases in the bottom of the eighth, and TMB senior leadoff hitter Kate Johnston ripped a single over second base to give the Panthers a 12-11 win.
Neither head coach thought his team played its sharpest Monday, but TMB head coach Paul Skoglund said he was pleased with how his players battled with a Dawson-Boyd team that came into the game with just two losses.
TMB122 222 0-11 16 1
DB140 211 0-9 10 2
TMB-Jenny Welu. DB-Katie Hutt. WP-Welu. LP-Hutt. HR: DB-Nicole Jurgenson. 3B: DB-Kaitlin Johnshoy, Justine Flattum. 2B: TMB-Alexis Buysse 2, Galiya Bitton; DB-Flattum, Johnshoy.
DB240 300 20-11 16 2
TMB450 200 01-12 10 1
DB-Sadie Zaiser. TMB-Welu. WP-Welu. LP-Zaiser. 2B: DB-Johnshoy 2; TMB-Kate Johnston, Casey Iverson.
"They were two W's. The girls persevered," said Skoglund, whose team moves to 8-3 on the year. "They worked hard through it.
"But give Dawson credit. They hung with us and they wouldn't go away. We scored enough runs, they just kept making it exciting."
The two teams went back and forth all afternoon and into the evening. In Game 1, the Panthers scored one run in the first inning against Dawson-Boyd pitcher Katie Hutt, then scored two runs in each of the next five innings.
The Blackjacks hit well off of TMB pitcher Jenny Welu, too, and they hit for power. Nicole Jurgenson had a home run for Dawson-Boyd in fifth inning, and Kaitlin Johnshoy and Justine Flattum each had a double and a triple in the game to help power the Blackjacks to nine runs on 10 hits.
The Panthers scored the decisive two runs in the top of the sixth when Alexis Buysse knocked in Johnston and Anna Johnson with a double down the left field line to put the Panthers up 11-8.
Buysse was 4-for-5 with two doubles in the game to lead the TMB offense. Ashley Daniels also had a strong game, going 4-for-4 at the plate with a walk and two runs scored.
Welu earned the win in the circle, striking out four batters and walking one in seven innings.
Welu worked all eight innings of the second game, as well, while Dawson-Boyd gave the ball to sophomore Sadie Zaiser. Zaiser struggled greatly with her control over the first two innings, walking seven batters and giving up nine runs on just four hits.
Dawson-Boyd head coach John Nevins said the pitching struggles were uncharacteristic of his team.
"We just had so many walks and errors," he said. "We can't walks girls like that, and we know that."
Zaiser eventually settled down and the offense kept Dawson-Boyd in the game. Zaiser helped her cause in the second inning with a two RBI single through the left side of the infield, one of eight hits the Blackjacks piled up while scoring six runs over the first two innings.
The Blackjacks tied the game at nine with three runs in the top of the fourth. Justine Flattum led off with an infield hit, Johnshoy knocked her in with a double and Zaiser drew a walk to open the inning. Mari Lee drove in Johnshoy by grounding out to the second baseman, and Sarah Zaiser knocked in Sadie Zaiser with a single up the middle to tie the game.
TMB added two runs in the bottom half of the inning to go up 11-9. Daniels reached base on an error by the Blackjacks' second baseman and Galiya Bitton got on after a fielder's choice. They were both driven in on a base hit to shallow right by Alyssa Campbell.
Welu and Sadie Zaiser each sharpened their focus and kept the opposition off the board in the fifth and sixth innings.
Needing two runs to extend the game, the Blackjacks found their offense again in the top of the seventh. Hutt, who came in to pinch hit, started the inning with a single to left and stole second. After a pair of outs, Flattum drew a walk, setting the table for Johnshoy. Johnshoy, who went 3-for-4 with a walk in Game 2, belted a double to right-center to score the two base runners and tie the game. It was the fourth extra-base hit she had on the day.
"Kaitlin hit the ball well," Nevins said. "She's patient, sometimes too patient. She'll watch strike one, strike two and sometimes put herself in a hole, but she really came through today and hit the ball well."
TMB was unable to get the winning run in the bottom of the seventh, but after Welu shut down the Blackjacks in the top of the eighth, the Panthers capitalized with a trio of walks by Sadie Zaiser to the bottom three hitters in the TMB batting order before Johnston came up with her clutch hit to seal the win. She finished the game 4-for-6 with a double, while Bitton went 2-for-4.
Welu worked her way around 16 Dawson-Boyd hits to earn the win. She finished with eight strikeouts and three walks.
Skoglund said the Blackjacks have a strong hitting team at the plate, but he liked how Welu kept her composure after giving up more hits than she usually does.
"They played pretty well and they hit Jenny pretty well," Skoglund said of the Blackjacks. "Give Jenny credit because she stuck with it and had two full games here and then some, and then we'll play MACCRAY (today) and we're going to throw her again.
"We're asking a lot of her, but we expect a lot out of her and she's stepping up to it."