Apr. 9—SAEGERTOWN — Saegertown was in control throughout the duration of a 11-1 victory over Maplewood on Thursday. And it started with freshman pitcher Mikaila Obenrader and Brittany Houck’s reputation at the plate.
After walking the first batter, Obenrader struck on the next two and got a fly out. That gave the Houck-led Panther offense a chance to pounce first. And they did just that.
Saegertown began the bottom of the first inning with a strikeout, but two singles and an error gave the Panthers runners on second and third with Brittany Houck at the plate. Maplewood chose to walk Houck and load the bases.
“Brittany Houck is a home run hitter. We know her and I’d rather walk a couple runs in then have her hit four runs in so we can stay alive longer and play,” Maplewood head coach Brad Crawford said. “We just didn’t wanna take the chance.”
With the bases loaded, Maplewood’s Izzy Eimer walked two of the next three batters, giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
In the second inning, Obenrader took care of business again by retiring the first three batters.
The second inning looked to be a repeat of the first. After walking a batter and allowing a single, Houck was walked to load the bases once again.
“I did not expect it (intentional walking Houck), but I do understand their choice,” Saegertown head coach Jennifer Krider said. “She’s a great leader, a great hitter and a tough out.”
Sydnie Smith was walked in her at bat, bringing a run home and keeping the bases loaded. Kylie Stafford hit a single to shallow center, which brought Katherine Diesing and Houck in to score. Smith was narrowly thrown out at third base to end the inning.
Maplewood recorded its first hit of the game in the third when Eve Beuchat drilled a ball to the fence in deep center field for a double. Beuchat was left on the second when Madison Crawford struck out for the final out.
With a 5-0 lead, the Panthers’ bats were even hotter in the third inning. Obenrader started the inning by hitting a low line drive to deep center field for a double. After back-to-back singles, Abigail Kirdahy hit a double to bring two runs home and give her squad runners on second and third with zero outs.
A sacrifice bunt from Rhiannon Paris brought another score in for Saegertown, still with no outs. After a Kacie Mook single, Houck was yet again intentionally walked to load the bases. A walk brought in another runner before an error at the plate allowed two more runners to come home, giving the Panthers an 11-0 lead.
“When we play as a team and come prepared we tend to play our best,” Krider said. “I think we have unlimited potential and whenever we develop that chemistry on the field and come with momentum it’s good for us.”
In the Tigers’ at bat, Eimer led off the series with a bomb to deep center field that hit the fence for a double. Madelyn Woge followed with a double of her own, which allowed Eimer to score and get the Tigers on the scoreboard. A fly out and two strikeouts would end the inning for Maplewood.
Despite making contact several times, Maplewood batters were unable to consistently get on base and runners were left stranded on third base twice in the game.
“We need to get more live pitching in. It will help the pitchers and the batters,” Crawford said. “We’ve been trying to fit it in but we haven’t had a lot of time to do it.”
After Eimer gave the Tigers a run, she returned to the mound and gave her team three outs in four batters.
Facing a 11-1 deficit in the top of the fifth, Maplewood needed to score or they would fall victim to the 10-run mercy rule. The Tigers did not score and the game was over after five innings.
“We have to focus and stop over-thinking things. We need to focus in between pitches. Just keep growing,” Crawford said. “They are there, the defense is there but we need to get the ball out there. We have injured pitchers, young pitchers, inexperienced pitchers and its all killing us but we’ll keep working.”
Eimer went 1-for-2 and added a run and an RBI in the game. She also gave up eight hits and 11 runs on the mound with four strikeouts.
On the mound for Saegertown, Obenrader struck out nine batters and allowed one run on three hits. At the plate, she went 1-for-2 with a run and an RBI.
Obenrader said she was “nervous but ready” heading into the game and feels good about the season moving
Saegertown is now 2-0 on the season while Maplewood drops to 0-3.