SYRACUSE – Rolling, rolling, rolling, those Warriors keep on rolling.
The Wawasee softball team continued its fantastic 2014 campaign on Monday by picking up its fifth consecutive Northern Lakes Conference win. This time it was visiting Goshen that fell victim to the big bats of the Warriors as Wawasee mercy ruled its rival 16-6 in six innings of play.
“We just hit the ball really well today,” said Wawasee head coach Jared Knipper.
Knipper’s opening statement was simple but said it all about his team’s big win.
Wawasee found itself in a hole after the Goshen had its first appearance at the plate. Facing a 3-0 deficit in the bottom of the first, the Warriors not only matched the effort by the Redskins, they nearly tripled it.
The home team scored eight runs in the bottom of the first to set the tone for its big win. Madie Wilson scored the first run of the day for Wawasee, something that became a bit of a trend for the Warrior freshman. Wilson scored twice in the first inning and led all players with three runs scored and tied to lead all players with four RBIs.
The only other Warrior to rack up as many RBIs as Wilson was sophomore Danielle Gunkel, and she collected three of them on one swing. Gunkel smashed a three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning, scoring Kylee Rostochak and Meghan Fretz, to give Wawasee its first lead of the day at 5-3.
Gunkel, Rostochak and Fretz joined with shortstop Alli Ousley to hold down the infield on Monday night. The all-around solid defensive effort was highlighted by diving grab from Christina DeLaFuente in the second inning. The stout defense by Wawasee helped to back a nice night in the circle from starting pitcher Amber Lemberg.
Lemberg pitched all six innings for the Warriors, walking three and striking out one. Lemberg only gave up two earned runs on eight hits and moved to 11-4 on the season.
Knipper stressed how important that performances at the plate were for his team given how well Goshen was doing against Lemberg, the Warrior ace.
“We have to give Goshen a lot of credit,” Knipper said. “Teams don’t typically hit the ball that well on Amber (Lemberg) so it was good to see us come out and get some pretty good hits tonight as well.”
Wawasee’s efforts at the plate extended beyond the home run from Gunkel. Ousely, Rostochak and Gunkel led the team with three hits a piece. Ousley also had two stolen bases and was one of seven Warriors to cross the plate at least twice.
Looking ahead, Wawasee (17-7, 8-4 NLC) has one of its toughest stretches of games before entering next week’s sectional. Wawasee will travel to Concord, Northridge and Bremen in the coming days starting with the game at Concord on Wednesday night. First pitch for all contests is at 5 p.m.
The Warrior junior varsity squad also mercy ruled its opponent on Monday night. Wawasee won 11-1 over visiting Goshen. Hannah Haines picked up the win for Wawasee.