Panthers open season with sweep at Janesville Craig
By John Kemmeter
With fields still unplayable due to weather in the northern part of the state, the Stevens Point Area Senior High (SPASH) softball team opened its season with a doubleheader sweep at Janesville Craig Friday, March 30.
The Panthers used a late rally to pull away for a 16-4 win in the first game, and then jumped ahead early in the second game to roll to a 13-1 victory.
“Any time that you have 38 hits in two games, you’ve got to be pretty excited about that,” said SPASH softball head coach Tom Drohner. “Our offense is capable of those types of games, certainly we’re not going to have 38 hits every two games, but it showed the kind of hitters we have up and down our lineup.”
SPASH struck in the opening inning of the season, as it used a RBI double from sophomore catcher Sammy Saloun to highlight a two-run top of the first inning that gave the team a 2-0 lead.
The Panthers added two more runs in the top of the fourth to go up 4-0, but Craig answered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth off of SPASH senior pitcher Andrea Cherney to pull within 4-3.
A run in the top of the fifth gave the Panthers a 5-3 lead, while Craig scored a run in the bottom of the sixth to close within 5-4 heading into the top of the seventh, when SPASH put the game out of reach.
Senior third baseman Kayla Lass hit a home run and a double in the inning to lead an 11-run rally, as sophomore second baseman Megan Miklesh, Saloun, senior right fielder Halle Pavelski, senior first baseman Maddie Fink and senior center fielder Ally Miklesh each had a RBI single to cap the Panthers’ scoring in the 16-4 win.
“It was a very close game until the seventh inning,” said Drohner. “We solved their pitcher a little bit, we were able to figure some things out and we busted out, and we ended up with 23 hits on the game.
“And it was fun to watch,” he said.
Lass went 3-for-5 with a double, home run, two runs scored and five RBI; Ally Miklesh was 4-for-5 with two doubles and three runs scored; Fink went 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBI; Saloun was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI; freshman left fielder Jenna Eilers went 2-for-3 with a triple and two runs scored; Megan Miklesh was 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI; and Pavelski went 2-for-4.
Cherney was 4-for-5 at the plate with a double, while she also struck out nine, walked one and allowed four earned runs on six hits to record the win in the circle.
SPASH took control early in the second game, as Pavelski hit a home run in the top of the first inning to lead a seven-run rally that gave the team a 7-0 lead.
After Craig scored a run in the bottom of the first off Fink to make it 7-1, Pavelski hit her second home run of the game in the top of the second to lead a three-run inning that gave the Panthers a 10-1 lead, while they added three more runs in the top of the third to go up 13-1.
That was more than enough offense for Fink, as she struck out three, walked none and allowed one earned run on three hits to record the win in the 13-1 victory in five innings.
Pavelski finished 2-for-4 with two home runs, two runs scored and six RBI to lead the offense, while Saloun went 3-for-3 with three doubles, two runs scored and two RBI; Megan Miklesh was 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored; Lass went 3-for-3 with a double; Cherney was 2-for-3, and Ally Miklesh scored two runs.
“We scored seven runs in the first inning, right off the bat, and we just kind of rode the wave,” said Drohner. “Maddie did an outstanding job of hitting her spots, and Halle Pavelski was awesome offensively.
“We out-hit them 15-3, so from that standpoint, I thought it was a very good offensive performance on our part,” he said.