Lady Savages bats come alive in season opener

Hannah Lucas got mobbed by her teammates after she crushed a home run against EV to open the season on May 21. It was Lucas' first at bat in her first varisty softball game for the Lady Savages.

The Lady Savages got their offense rolling early and often when they hosted English Valleys on May 21 in their home season opener. Throughout four innings of play, Sigourney racked up 13 hits and put up 15 runs, while allowing EV to score three.

    Things clicked early as Autum Barthelman hit a leadoff double, followed by Leah Carter driving her in with a single. Carter then stole second unchallenged and stole third on a low pitch. Madison Schauf continued with a shallow hit that dropped in the outfield to score Carter, and then stole second base herself. Summer Barthelman hit a bloop fly which found the gap in the outfield which advanced Schauf to third and Summer took second on a steal. Savhannah White struck out on pitches and then Sigourney got their third run of the inning from a deep sacrifice fly by Megan Stuhr, which scored Schauf.

    “Our track girls had been gone for four days and they hadn’t seen any live pitches and they had some pretty good at-bats,” Sigourney coach Shelly Streigle said. “Jordan did a great job on the mound and Leah did a great job calling plays from behind the plate.”

    English Valleys couldn’t find a way to break into the Sigourney lead, but did get a runner on base with a hit by pitch midway through the second inning. She was caught stealing second as Carter threw an accurate strike to the Summer to tag Sydney Olson, which ended the top half of the inning.

    Sigourney responded with their best offensive inning of the game, scoring five more runs which began with a solo homer for Hannah Lucas, one of two freshmen on the starting roster. From there the strategy was either get on base, via a hit or walk, and then stay aggressive and steal bases when the opportunity presented itself. Autum recorded an RBI with a single, Schauf recorded an RBI with a deep double which reached the fence and Stuhr hit a two-run double to cap off the big inning.

    Gwen Mews had one of the three EV hits, which started a short rally for the Lady Bears. With Gwen on base, Clara Mews joined her after being walked. Karyssa Westfall struck out on pitches and Isabel Schneider hit a sacrifice fly which scored Gwen and advanced Clara. Maleah Ackerman then drove in Clara with an infield hit, but the rally ended there after two runs were put up on the board.

    “Our girls were really excited to play Sigourney, we played a little tight early in the game,” English Valleys coach Steve Hester said. “As we relaxed things started to get better.”

    Sigourney got more hits and steals from a handful of their girls, one run scoring from a passed ball as Autum took off from third base. After allowing another hard-hit slicing ball to score a run, Hester came out and made a pitching change by taking out Elle Ayers who threw 84 pitches in 2 1/3 innings, walked five and struck out one. Hannah Marsh was on the bump from there and got an immediate punchout then two flyouts to end the inning.

    “We talk about them seeing the ball on the ground and we’ve got speed,” Streigle said. “We have to take advantage of that. We’ve talked about being aggressive offensively and defensively all spring so we’re ready for that.”

    The Lady Bears kept that little momentum push going as Audrey Grove hit a double in the shallow outfield to leadoff the fourth. Lexie Miller sacrificed to first, which advanced Grove to third base with one out. On a rare pitch that got past Carter at the plate, Grove saw a chance to steal home and successfully did with a close play at the plate. It was ruled Grove was able to get to home plate before the tag was applied and EV put up another run. They couldn’t tack anything else onto that as their next two batters hit balls to second for the routine out at first base.

    “Isabel caught the ball well in left field, getting plenty of action, and she put the ball in play at bat,” Hester said. “The biggest thing for our girls is to relax and play our game. We have a tough conference and we’re going to be battle tested but we’ll get it going and get some wins.”

    Sigourney ended the game in the fourth with three more runs scored by Kaylee Weber, Autum and Carter. Jordan VanEe picked up the win on the mound for the Lady Savages, tossing all four innings, striking out four, walking two and allowing two hits.

    Lady Savage leaders: Madi Schauf – 4 RBI, Megan Stuhr – 4 RBI, Leah Carter – 4 SB, Autum – 4 runs, Hannah Lucas – 1 HR

    English Valleys leaders: Isabel Schneider – 1 RBI, Maleah Ackerman – 1 RBI, Audrey Grove – 1 SB, Maleah Ackerman – 1 run, Audrey Grove – 1 run, Gwen Mews – 1 run

    The Lady Savages hosted Tri-County on May 23 and then were on the road to face Keota on May 25. The Lady Bears hosted Keota on May 23 before playing Iowa Valley on the road May 25.