Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
The Jefferson City softball team didn’t have any shortage of baserunners Wednesday, recording 11 hits, three walks and two hit batters. And apparently getting on base wasn’t enough, as the Lady Jays stole six bases in a 6-2 defeat of Southern Boone at 63 Diamonds.
“We’re just trying to capitalize and make them throw the ball and make them get us out,” Jefferson City coach Zac Miller said.
The Lady Jays began the scoring in a first inning that looked to be lost after a baserunning mistake left the Lady Jays with two outs and no one on. Instead, Taylor Dey reached on an error, Emily Williams doubled down the right-field line, and Hannah Hirschvogel sent them home with a single to right.
“That was huge,” Miller said. “I kicked myself for getting that second out on us … but that was huge for them to be able to come up and get two hits and get us in and get us the lead.”
It began a string of four straight innings to start the game in which Jefferson City scored. Lauren Neubauer drew a one-out walk and stole second base, allowing Katy Tambke to drive her in with a single to left center. Alex Gilliland tripled to deep right to drive in Hirschvogel, who singled, in the third, and Gilliland came in to score on a groundout from Ashton Glass. Tambke began the fourth with a hit by pitch, and pitcher Alyssa Schulte drove her in with a double after she stole second.
Tambke and Schulte, the Nos. 1 and 2 hitters, were a combined 5-of-5 at the plate, and led off three separate innings.
“They’re tempo setters,” Miller said. “When they get on base, we can do a lot of fun things. Anytime a leadoff (hitter) gets on base, that opens up the door for stuff you can do.”
Schulte was just as strong in the circle, where she threw a five-hit complete game, striking out five.
“She threw well tonight,” Miller said. “We really have been focused on working ahead in the count, and she’s taking to it and attacking the zone. When her offense gets her some runs it makes it that much easier.”
Seven Jefferson City batters recorded a hit in the game.
“The offense is rolling,” Miller said. “It’s going well, the girls are hitting the ball all up and down the lineup. That’s when it gets fun.”
As the game ran into the final hours of September, the temperature dropped — a rare occurrence this season — even as the Lady Jays’ bats stayed hot.
“We’re going to need to get used to (the cold),” Miller said, “because it’s always different, whether it’s so hot or so cold, things change. How the ball feels, how the bat feels in your hand, and that’s stuff that you’ve got to be able to block out, and it’s good to have that experience before postseason.”
The Lady Jays (14-7) play Friday at the Carthage Invitational.