Panthers overwhelm Rapids in convincing victory
By Jacob Heid
PLOVER – Everything went right for the SPASH softball team (13-8, 9-2) in its matchup with Wisconsin Rapids at Woyak Park on May 11.
After nearly a month of waiting, the Panthers looked to avenge an 11-9 loss vs. the Red Raiders on Apr. 21.
The Panthers did exactly that, winning a crucial Wisconsin Valley Conference game, 11-1, in five innings.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Klismith led SPASH with three hits and drove in one run.
Senior Riley Pechinski and sophomore had two hits each in the win. Pechinski finished with two RBIs.
SPASH had 10 hits in five innings.
Rapids struck in the top of the first inning, taking a 1-0 lead into the bottom half.
Klismith singled to open the frame, working around the bases to score the Panthers’ first run.
The score stayed at 1-1 after one inning complete.
Freshman Jordan Roth dropped a nice bunt down the first base line to single and score a run in the second.
SPASH extended the lead to 3-1 before a fielder’s choice after Roth’s at-bat made it a 4-1 lead after two innings.
“We want to make sure we put the ball in play. Especially put the ball in play on the ground. With our team speed, we force the opposing team to make quick decisions. I think we did that today,” SPASH coach Tom Drohner said. “Even sometimes when [Rapids] made the right decision and fielded the ball cleanly, our speed just kind of showed out there.”
Junior Maren Sauvaugeau took control after surrendering a run in the first.
She retired Rapids in order in the third, setting up another inning to extend the lead.
Pechinski got on and later moved to third base on a throwing error at second.
She scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman Aubree Itzen, making it a 5-1 game in the third.
SPASH kept the offensive attack going, adding five more runs in the fourth and one in the fifth.
Pechinski slapped a single back up the middle for the winning run, making it an 11-1 game.
Sauvaugeau went the full five innings, allowing one run on four hits.
The Panthers are focused as the season nears playoff time, bringing more opportunities.
“What you do with those opportunities is totally up to you. We’re going to be presented with something, and we’ve got to capitalize on that,” Drohner stated.