Softball team extends winning streak to six games in Indiana
Cardinals beat Indianapolis and St. Joseph's twice each as they prepare for GLIAC schedule; Kaiser, Kraatz continue to shine at the plate
March 26, 2007 —
This season has been one of streaks for the SVSU softball team, and this past weekend was no different.
The Cardinals won their fifth and sixth games in a row Sunday in Indiana, winning a 3-2, eight-inning game over St. Joseph's before beating the Pumas 11-2 in five innings in the second game.
SVSU went into the bottom of the seventh of the first game with a 2-1 lead, but the Pumas were able to tie the game with a single from Ashley Emmett. The game would not remain tied for long, though, as freshman centerfielder Angela Kaiser doubled in fellow freshman Billi Hoeppner in the top of the eighth for the game-winning run. Hoeppner, who scored two runs in the game, led off the inning by reaching base on an error by Pumas pitcher Sara Somogyi and advanced to third on a sacrifice by senior Lorelea Rice.
The Pumas threatened in the bottom of the inning, placing runners at second and third with one out. Sophomore Stacy Kraatz pulled out the victory, though, by getting the next two hitters to pop out and foul out, respectively.
"That win was absolutely huge for our psyche," coach Bill Graham said. "It was good for us to get a run so quickly after giving up the lead in the bottom of the seventh. That was definitely a character game."
SVSU was the first to score, putting up two runs in the third inning. Pinch runner Cheryl Ray scored on a wild pitch, and Hoeppner scored the first of her two runs on a triple by Kaiser.
The Pumas got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Cheryl Zakowski homered off Kraatz to lead off the inning.
Kraatz went the distance for the win, allowing seven hits and striking out three. Somogyi was every bit as good as Kraatz, as she also went the distance, striking out eight and allowing just three hits.
Each team committed three errors in the game, but the Pumas proved more detrimental, as all three Cards runs were unearned.
Somogyi, one of the best pitchers in the region according to Graham, came back out for the second game to start against Cardinals freshman Kari Bowlby.
The Cards used their momentum from the first game to get on Somogyi quickly. Rice led off the game with a single, and after Kaiser moved her over to second, Kraatz hit a two-run home run to left field.
Bowlby was able to shut down the Pumas until the third inning, when the Cards exploded for nine runs to put the game out of reach for St. Joe's.
Rice led off the inning with another single, and things snowballed from there for Somogyi, Graham said.
The Cards manufactured several runs before freshman Nikki Bigelow hit a grand slam with just one out to chase Somogyi. The Pumas brought out Holly Roadruck, who proceeded to give up three more SVSU runs before the inning was finally over.
"[Somogyi] was a little fatigued, but we were able to take advantage," Graham said.
The Pumas scored once each in the fourth and fifth innings. One run came off Bowlby, while one came off sophomore Mallory Miller, who pitched the fifth.
The two Cardinals' pitchers combined to allow just four hits.
Kaiser continued her stellar play over the weekend, which also included two victories over Indianapolis Saturday. The freshman went 3-for-6 on Sunday and 7-for-13 over all four games, knocking in three runs on Sunday. With the performance she raised her batting average to .429, tops on the team.
Kraatz improved to 5-4 on the season with her win in the first game Sunday and also went 4-for-8 with three RBIs and two runs in the doubleheader. Combined with Saturday's complete-game 5-2 victory over Indy when she didn't allow an earned run, Kraatz lowered her ERA from 3.80 to 3.05.
Bowlby's win improved her record to 5-2 on the season. She pitched 6.1 innings in a 1-0 victory in the second game against the Greyhounds and lowered her ERA to 2.43.
The story of the weekend was the Cards' winning streak, though, which improved their record to 12-7 before next week's first GLIAC matchup against Ashland and Findlay.
"The girls aren't looking at it like they've won six in a row," Graham said. "They're taking it one game at a time, just like they should. They're probably too young to realize they're on such a streak, and maybe that's a good thing."
Graham added that he likes where the team is at heading into next weekend. Ashland, who the Cards play on Saturday, entered the weekend with an 11-5 record. The Eagles feature senior pitcher Jaime Williams, who entered the weekend with a 9-2 record with a 0.63 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 67 innings.
"The girls are excited for the challenge," Graham said. "Hopefully we can come out next Saturday like we did this weekend."
Graham expressed confidence in the team for next weekend's games.
"We're at a good place right now," he said. "We're pitching well and playing pretty good defense, and getting some hits. We're getting a few breaks, but we're also creating some of our own, too."