It was a week of firsts for the Union softball Lady ’Cats.
Union played its opener, a 9-1 Four Rivers Conference loss, at Owensville Tuesday.
And, the Lady ’Cats returned to action Thursday, defeating De Soto, 10-3, in the home opener. That also was the first time the lights were used in a game at Wildcat Ballpark.
Union (1-1) just was able to return to action after missing the early part of the season, including its tournament, due to a COVID-19 quarantine. Because of this, the team has been playing catch-up.
“We know and talked about making sure we are learning from every game this year,” Head Coach Tiffany Poggas said. “We are younger and relatively inexperienced, so we are working hard to learn the small things about the game. After the Owensville loss, we talked about our approach at the plate. The girls really went after the ball during this game and that was great to see them put learning into action.”
In Thursday’s game, De Soto opened scoring with a run in the top of the first. Union came back with two runs in the bottom of the first and added eight in the third. De Soto scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
Kieley DeWitt pitched for Union and earned the win. She allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits, five walks and two hit batters. She struck out eight.
Hailey Earney went 4-4 at the plate, including a double.
“Hailey Earney had a great game going 4-4 at the plate,” Poggas said. “It really helped boost her confidence. She’s been working hard and it was nice to see it pay off.”
Anna Scanlon singled twice. Logan Baeres and Abby Gilbert both tripled. Addy Friese doubled.
Ella Wells, DeWitt and Whitney Griffin singled. Wells stole a base.
Wells and Earney each scored twice. Gilbert, Emily Lowe, Abby Thwing, Baeres and Friese scored once.
Gilbert drove in three. Scanlon and Thwing each had two RBIs. Earney, Baeres and Friese drove in one run apiece.
“We saw a lot of good things to continue to build off of,” Poggas said. “Baserunning was fantastic for the most part. We still have a few more growing pains to get through but I’m really happy with the results we’ve had so far.”
Poggas said there were positives defensively as well.
“Defensively, we had a solid game,” said Poggas. “Addy Friese fielded a ton of balls at second and really impressed the coaches with her ability to take things away in the gaps. I was really happy with her there. Kieley DeWitt did a great job in the circle for us too.”
“She keeps getting stronger and building her stamina. It’s going to be fun watching her grow in her role as a leader on the field.”
Finally getting to take the field, the Union softball Lady ’Cats opened the season with a run in the top of the first Tuesday at Owensville.
However, the host Dutchgirls scored three in the bottom of the first, two in the third and four more runs in the fifth to win, 9-1.
“We definitely have some work to do,” Poggas said. “We were working on getting our first-game jitters out against a team that has already played several games on the season.”
Gilbert hit an inside-the-park home run in the top of the first for Union’s offensive highlight.
Union’s DeWitt pitched all five innings of the game, allowing nine runs (seven earned) on 10 hits, four walks and one hit batter. She struck out one.
Poggas said she knew it would be a tough game, no matter if Union hadn’t played.
“Owensville has been building over the last few seasons, so I give them credit for coming out ready to play us,” Poggas said.
From here, Union is just looking to improve.
“We’re focusing on gaining our own experiences and learning something new from every game,” Poggas said.
For Owensville, Addison Wright was the winning pitcher, throwing six innings while allowing a run on one hit and one walk. She struck out nine.
Gabby Bunners pitched the final inning.
Anna Finley, Wright and Paige Boasaller each had two hits. The Dutchgirls ended with 10 hits as a team.