Softball: Offense heating up
The popular cliché in baseball and softball is hitting is contagious.
If teams are in a slump, it often affects most of the players. If teams are hitting well and scoring runs, it's usually several players involved.
The Rosemount softball team certainly showed a similar trend over the past week while winning its first two games of the season.
After scoring eight times in the first five games of the season, the Irish offense finally got going in two wins over the past week. Rosemount beat Bloomington Kennedy, 9-1, late last week and then added a 5-1 win against Prior Lake on Monday. A Saturday tournament at Tartan was postponed and a makeup has not been announced.
"I think the monkey is off the back as far as getting a win," Irish coach Tiffany Rose said of losing the season's first four games. "We were happy and it was nice to get the bats going against Kennedy. We were a little disappointed as coaches that we didn't play Saturday because you want to keep playing in that situation, keeping swinging the bats when it's going well. We came back (Monday) and were ready to play."
Rose felt the quality of the at-bats had started improving in recent games and figured the offensive struggles would eventually end. Last week's outburst against the Eagles allowed Rosemount (2-5, 2-4 South Suburban) to relax.
"I think that it's a little bit of a relief for all of us," Rose said. "The bats are coming around. I think the girls were getting a little frustrated with hitting the ball hard but hitting into outs, hitting right at people. We felt if we started to get them to fall, we'd have a little more confidence and it's paying off. You try not to press so hard to get hits and get runs. It's nice to have the successful feeling of getting the hit."
Sometimes it's an unexpected circumstance that opens the floodgates.
Monday against Prior Lake, the Irish were trailing 1-0 heading into the fifth, but Meghan Schuster tripled to reach scoring position.
With two outs and Schuster on third base, the Prior Lake catcher dropped a third strike. Schuster charged and scored with the catcher unprepared for Schuster's heady play.
"She had to be thinking with two outs, you had to go with two outs no matter what" Rose said. "The second Paige (Cero) swung, she took off. The catcher bobbled it and didn't think to tag the runner. I think the catcher was thinking she had to go to first. It was a great heads-up play by Meghan. She led off with a triple. She's been hitting the ball hard game after game and it was good for her to get that hit. She started it all."
Rosemount went on to score four more runs with two outs in the inning.
Makayla Newberry had a hit and two RBIs. Melissa Seldon and Ali Fromme also had hits.
Rachel Hoeppner allowed three hits and struck out three batters.
"I would say that was Rachel's best game of the year," Rose said. "She hit her spots and had good pop. She looked more in the zone than she had all year. It was good to see."
Newberry had two hits and two RBIs in the breakout against Kennedy. Summer Lindelin had two hits and two RBIs.
Hoeppner had two hits and an RBI, and allowed just three hits while pitching. She struck out nine, while giving up one unearned run.
The Irish scored six times in the sixth.
"I felt like we finally could kind of take a deep breath," Rose said. "It was 3-1 before then and still a close game."
The Irish play at Burnsville today and host Bloomington Jefferson tomorrow.