SMILES AND BIG MACS: Shawe pitcher Allison Mruzek gets congratulations from assistant coach James Koehler (above) after wrapping up a 25-3 win over Rock Creek on Saturday, the Hilltoppers’ first win of the season. Right-fielder Megan Scroggins makes a running catch on a sinking line drive (below) earning herself a Big Mac from coach Gary VanWye, who promised the freshman a sandwich for every catch. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
SMILES AND BIG MACS: Shawe pitcher Allison Mruzek gets congratulations from assistant coach James Koehler (above) after wrapping up a 25-3 win over Rock Creek on Saturday, the Hilltoppers’ first win of the season. Right-fielder Megan Scroggins makes a running catch on a sinking line drive (below) earning herself a Big Mac from coach Gary VanWye, who promised the freshman a sandwich for every catch. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
When you have the kind of season Shawe softball has had, you don't apologize when you finally get a chance to break out and win a pair of games big.

The Hilltoppers picked up their first wins of the season in dominating fashion, hammering first-year program Rock Creek in both games of a softball doubleheader, 25-3 and 15-5.

Shawe collected a total of 24 hits in the two games and took advantage of a young Lions' team's inability to throw strikes to pull out the two wins. When it was over, an equally young Hilltoppers squad was all smiles.

"This was good for these girls. Hopefully, this will give them a boost of confidence," Shawe coach Gary VanWye said. "As the game wore on, you could just see them get more confident."

The opening game got ugly quick with both teams showcasing their youth. Rock Creek - which only had eight players - scored three runs in the top of the first on one Shawe error and two mental mistakes. Casey Mitchell's two-run single was the big hit.

But after the top of the first, the Shawe defense settled down and Hilltopper starter Allison Mruzek got into a groove. And in the bottom of the first, the Shawe offense gave Mruzek more than enough runs to pick up the win.

Rock Creek starter Katie Clapp walked the first five batters of the game and threw seven wild pitches before getting pulled. Overall, the first seven batters reached for Shawe and all seven scored to set the tone. By the time the first inning was over, the Hilltoppers had collected 14 runs on just four hits and two errors as Rock Creek's pitchers issued nine walks and hit one batter.

Shawe tacked on three more in the second on back-to-back doubles by Megan Goebel and Ashley Josephsen and a single by Kayla Cieslinski. Three more runs scored in the third on two errors and two walks.

The Hilltoppers (2-6) capped the scoring with five runs in the fourth inning, getting singles by Sarah Sanders and Jaelyn Copeland and an RBI double by Koehler to go with three more errors.

Rock Creek, in the meantime, couldn't find another opening as Mruzek got more confident and her defense began to make plays. Shawe rightfielder Megan Scroggins robbed Ahyenday Thornton of a sure basehit with a running catch in the fourth, third baseman Koehler gunned down a runner at the plate in the fourth and shortstop Copeland and first baseman Josephsen teamed up on a double play in the seventh.

"Scroggins cost me a Big Mac!" VanWye said. "We talked her into playing this year and I told her for every catch and hit she makes, I'll buy her a Big Mac. She loves the things. And I'm happy to buy it.

"You could see them getting more comfortable as the game wore on," VanWye said. "Hopefully, this is the start to something."

Shawe banged out 11 hits in the opener, two each by Cieslinski, Josephsen, Copeland and Koehler. Josephsen had four RBIs and scored five runs, Copeland had four RBIs, Koehler had an RBI and five runs scored and Sanders drove in two runs.

In the second game, the Hilltoppers had 13 more hits. Koehler, Goebel and Josephsen had three hits each.

Mruzek picked up the win in both games. In the opener, she scattered six hits and allowed three runs - two earned - in five innings of work with three strikeouts and two walks. She allowed only three hits in game two.

The Hilltoppers will get a chance to see how their new-found confidence carries them forward when they return to action today at Switzerland County. They will then host Milan on Tuesday in a continuation of a suspended game from last week. Milan is batting in the top of the second and holds a 14-0 lead.




Bedford NL rallies in 7th to edge Cubs 3-2

Bedford North Lawrence pushed a run across the plate in the top of the sixth inning to pull out a 3-2 win over Madison in softball Saturday at home.

Madison out-hit the Stars 9-2 but couldn't get the big hit when it needed it. After allowing the go-ahead run in the sixth, the Lady Cubs left two runners in scoring position and went down in order in the seventh.

"We really let this one slip away," Madison coach Tony Ralston said. "The night before our defense helped us. Today we weren't as sharp and that is the difference in the game. We had runners in scoring position, we just couldn't get that hit."

The Cubs got both of their runs in the bottom of the first. Katlin Brown doubled, Hannah Bickers singled and Ashleigh Poling brought both runners in with a base-hit.

Bedford North Lawrence answered with two runs in the third on an error and a walk. Two singles and a hit batter led to the go-ahead run in the sixth.

Brown was 3-for-4 while Bickers was 2-for-3. Kaitlin Adler, Melody Marsh and Courtney Sonner each had a hit.

Bickers allowed just one earned run on two hits in seven innings with three strikeouts and a walk.

"As coach, all you ask for is to give ourselves a chance and we did that. It just didn't work out today," Ralston said. "We have to be ready to go this week. We have a really tough schedule coming up. Hannah Bickers gave us another great outing today. Our pitchers are really stepping up and that's what we need from them."

Bedford's Cassidy Morron had two runs on nine hits in seven innings with three strikeouts to get the win. Mikala Hang and Kaci Ikerd each had a hit and an RBI for the Stars.

Madison, now 8-5 overall and 0-4 in the Hoosier Hills Conference, hosts Charlestown today.