SYRACUSE – Offensively, Wawasee’s softball team is playing as well as anyone in the area. After scoring double digits in its past four games, the Lady Warriors continued to pound the ball, beating East Noble, 9-2, and Westview, 10-0, in a doubleheader Saturday at Wawasee.
Game one against East Noble had Wawasee start slow, but make its opportunities count. A five-run third inning opened the door for the Lady Warriors. Back-to-back singles from Ale Brito and Alli Ousley led things off, and a mixing of fielding errors and passed balls brought both home. Hits from Danielle Gunkel, Cristina DeLaFuente and Paige Hlutke all brought around runs to cap the inning.
Gunkel would drive in two more in the fifth to run her game total to three RBIs to lead the Lady Warriors. Ousley and Fretz would both collect three hits and score two runs.
Fretz earned her third win of the season, allowing just one hit. The freshman flamethrower struck out 12, but found trouble in the first and fourth innings. Fretz loaded the bases in the first with just one out, but struck out the next two batters. Two Wawasee errors in the fourth allowed the Lady Knights to plate its only output of the contest after Megan Rainey and Taylor Koegler led off with walks.
“I think we’ve done a good job not making a big deal about mistakes, which I think has allowed the defense to relax a little more when a mistake does happen,” Wawasee head coach Jared Knipper said. “Meghan really got focused in after a couple rough situations. I think you saw that in the first inning when her back was up against the wall with the bases loaded.”
Fretz and Gunkel hit back-to-back homers in the second inning of game two to start the carousel for Wawasee against Westview. The two sluggers provided Wawasee with five of the 10 total hits and combined for four RBIs and four runs scored.
The Westview game was rescheduled to Saturday from March 29 since the Westview boys basketball team played in the state finals that afternoon.
DeLaFuente scored two runs and added three stolen bases while Hlutke added two hits and an RBI.
The offense was more than enough for Amber Lemberg in the circle, who allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out two. The day ended when Wawasee (11-5 overall) turned an Ousley to Gunkel to Fretz double play in the fifth.
“We are really swinging the sticks well right now,” Knipper said. “The girls are working hard in practice and making the adjustments at the plate. The adjustments are coming sooner now than during a couple losses we had earlier in the year.”
Wawasee, since scoring just one run in back-to-back losses to NorthWood and Rochester last weekend, have scored 67 runs in its past six games, winning five of those contests. Knipper hopes his team can keep up the momentum with crucial Northern Lakes Conference games on the slate this week, starting Monday at home against Concord.
“I like how we are playing right now,” Knipper said. “We’re playing loose, having a lot of fun. I’m curious to see how we do against these conference teams the second time around.”
The Wawasee JV needed to score runs in its final at-bats Saturday to beat Angola twice in its doubleheader on the adjacent diamond to the varsity.
Nicole Streby smacked a game-winning single in the bottom of the eighth to cap a furious rally and an 11-10 win in game one. Streby then collected a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh of game two to tie the game at eight, setting the table for Leah deSomer to drive Streby home with a single for a 9-8 win.
In game one, Wawasee trailed 9-3 in the seventh inning before rallying for six runs and having the potential game-winning run thrown out at home plate. Angola rallied with a run in the top of the eighth, only for Streby’s heroics in the bottom of the inning.
In game two, Angola scored four runs in the top of the seventh to take an 8-5 lead before Wawasee rallied with four runs of its own to remain undefeated at 12-0. Riley Kunkle led off the seventh with a home run to start the rally.