By Travis Smola
The Vicksburg varsity softball team picked up two wins on the road against Dowagiac, 14-8 and 22-8, as the season winds down. In both games the Bulldogs had early leads before nearly letting the Chieftains back into it.
“We’ve just had innings where we lose focus sometimes,” Head Coach Paul Gephart said. “It tends to happen when we have a lead, and we get a little too relaxed and a little too complacent maybe.”
In the first game, the girls were up 7-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning when Dowagiac scored four runs to make it a game at 7-6. Vicksburg responded in the top of the sixth with a seven-run inning to widen the gap to 14-6. Among the key plays were a big double to left center by Delany Monroe to send Maddison Diekman and Karyna Lewis home for scores.
Shortly after that, Kennedy Davis hit a high pop ball that just missed the glove of a Dowagiac defender and cleared the fence. The hit loaded the bases and Audrie Dugan then hit a triple to bring home Monroe, Peyton Smith and Kennedy Davis. Dugan scored on a single from by Kayla Mottl. Torie Barga also hit a big triple to drive home Tristan Abnet home before Dowagiac finally got the third out to end what was for them, a nightmare inning.
“We hit the ball well, and we always feel like we can at least make a run at coming back,” Gephart said.
In the second game the Bulldogs once again got off to an early 4-0 lead in the top of the first. They increased the lead to 6-1 before Dowagiac scored five runs in the bottom of the second to even the score 6-6. Vicksburg took back the lead in the top of the third off a single from Lewis that brought Abnet home. Diekman scored shortly after that thanks to a Monroe single to make the game 8-6.
In the top of the fourth, Vicksburg opened things up and never looked back. Peyton Smith scored first on a high pitch. With Dugan and Barga on first and second, Abnet made a perfect bunt and a Dowagiac error allowed her to run safe to first, loading the bases. Diekman then hit a nice single, driving home two more runs.
Lewis widened the gap with a single of her own, allowing Abnet and Diekman to score, making it 11-6. Then Brooklynn Ringler hit a big RBI double that brought Lewis home. Ringler scored a few pitches later on a single from Smith to make it 15-6.
“We have a very good hitting team, we have a very young team,” “For as young as we are I’m very happy with how the ladies play,” Gephart said. “It’s good chemistry, they stay together as a team.”
Even when they weren’t hitting, the Bulldogs were still making smart decisions to get on base. Kennedy Davis walked next and scored several pitches later off a Mottl single. Then Abnet walked to load the bases before Diekman came back and hit another single and score to make it 18-6. The final score of that inning came from Baraga off a Lewis single to make it 19-8.
The huge inning seemed to break all of Dowagiac’s momentum. The team didn’t score any more runs in the contest. The Bulldogs scored three more runs in the top of the fifth before the game was ended after five.
By Travis Smola