April 26th, 2018

Rockets slug past Valkyries

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Conor Revell

Staff Writer

Rockets slug past Valkyries
Caroline Weickel throws a pitch / photo by Conor Revell

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Assumption’s visiting 22nd-ranked softball team rolled past archrival Sacred Heart 24-1 in four innings Thursday night.

“This team has really come together,” Assumption head coach Lisa Pinkston said. “They really started to bond after Spring Break and we have been able to put more advance level things into practice. I feel good about where we are. We have more wins this season than we have had the past couple of seasons. I think that has given us more confidence. Life is a lot more fun when you win.”

The Rockets scored two runs in the first inning, nine in the second inning, three in the third inning, and 10 in the fourth inning.

“I think at the start of the season we were flying under the radar a little bit,” Assumption’s Braxton Downs said. “Now, we’re starting to get into a groove and we’re playing really hard. We are playing with a lot of passion and heart. We have grown so much as a team and all of us are feeling it. We have been reading a book called the “Energy Bus” and it has empowered us to bring positive energy to the game.”

Pinkston subbed liberally after the second inning and that enabled Assumption (14-7) to have lots of contributors.

Maggie Metzger reached base three times and had one hit, Jordan Ridge walked, Miranda Thomas had an RBI double, Downs reached base twice and had an RBI single, Sydney Young had an RBI, Ashton Dowdy had a two-run single, Madison Loechle had a two-run single, Maddie Hester had two hits and an RBI, and Leah Raeber had a two-run double.

“For our two schools, this is an important game,” Pinkston said. “It leads into the weekend with the Pink vs. White game tomorrow. You got a lot of excitement around the community. I think this game kind of adds to it. Rivalry games year to year can swing in one direction and then it will swing in a completely direction the next year.”

Off the bench, Josie Dillon was plunked and drove in a run, Kaitlynn Bailey had a single, Ellen Kiefer had two hits and drove in three runs, Skylar Hester had a hit and drove in a run, Connie Douglas had two hits and drove in two runs, Megan O’Toole had a hit and drove in three runs, Heather Brown had two hits and two RBIs, Kayley Stowers had a bunt single, and Karena Knight had a hit and drove in a run.  

The Valkyries (4-4) got their lone run in the third when Assumption pitcher Caroline Weickel walked Gabby Case, gave up a single to Lizzie Sexton, and walked Mollie McMillen.

Case scored on a wild pitch.

Weickel threw a complete game and allowed one run; one hit, struck out four, and walked two.

“I wanted to work on everything and throw strikes,” Weickel said. “I threw curveballs, screwballs, a couple of changeups, and my drop ball.”  

Kate Black started for Sacred Heart and allowed seven runs, three hits, walked two, and plunked three in 1 & 1/3 innings.

“I have to credit Bob Wheatley,” Pinkston said. “He’s a classy coach. That man does not stop working. We were ahead a number of runs; the man is coaching and working it. He’s the biggest cheerleader on the side. Sacred Heart is lucky to have him as a coach.”

Jessica Biermesser pitched the final 2 & 2/3 innings and allowed 17 runs, 17 hits, and walked one.

“I have been working on trying to make contact with the ball and trying to drive it,” Raeber said. “I have been struggling as of late. This was a big game for me and I got a big hit and that really helped me and I helped my team as well.”  

The Rockets have won seven out of their last 10 games and is gearing up for their final 11 regular season games before the postseason starts late next month.

“You’ve got the powerhouse schools at the top and then we’re kind of right below them,” Pinkston said. “I think what we need to continue to work on is rising to the occasion and getting the job done. That means when you’re facing Division I pitchers, it’s a matter of being ready to play when your name is called.”

The Valkyries are battling the injury bug with star shortstop Alley Puckett out of the lineup as well as starting pitcher Audrey Lentz and have 13 games left in the regular season. 


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