SYRACUSE – Round two of the Northern Lakes Conference softball season started Wednesday night, and while not the massacre of the first meeting, Wawasee dimed Warsaw, 11-1, in six innings.
The big inning again helped Wawasee push in front. An RBI single from Madi Wilson got Wawasee on the board, which was followed by a two-run single from Kayla White. After White scored on a wild pitch, Cristina DeLaFuente later roped a two-run double to the gap, pushing the lead to 5-0.
The snowball effect has had its moments for both clubs, pro and con, this season.
“We’ve gotten over that shock of falling behind and saying ‘oh, here we go again’. The girls are just keeping their heads up and playing,” said Warsaw head coach Kevin Dishman. “We are striding in that direction. The scoreboard, I was hoping to get to seven innings, strong innings, and staying away from the dimes. We know we are behind some teams like Wawasee, but we want the better efforts each night.”
Added Wawasee head coach Jared Knipper, whose club pummeled Warsaw, 25-6, in the conference’s first night, “(Warsaw) didn’t make the mistakes tonight like they did the first time around. They were better on defense and made us work. They got that run in the sixth and I got a little nervous that they could have popped off four or five runs and make this tight. It was nice to see the girls know that they needed to finish this off and go home happy.”
Warsaw was sloppy in allowing Wawasee to build its lead, giving up two runs on wild pitches and another on a throwing error. Meghan Fretz also belted a solo homer in the fifth and ended the game with an RBI single in the sixth.
Fretz’s stock is soaring for Wawasee, winning her fourth NLC game in a row in the pitcher’s circle, and the one run Warsaw scored – a Karly Jones RBI single in the top of the sixth – is all the hurler has allowed in any conference appearance this season. With the news coming Wednesday that Wawasee’s No. 1 starter, Amber Lemberg, is out with an ACL tear, Fretz’s grit has been needed.
Fretz allowed just three hits and struck out 11.
Warsaw, which fell to 2-11 overall and 2-6 in the NLC, did make Fretz work despite the gaudy numbers. Warsaw had runners in scoring position in the first and second innings but ended the inning on strikeouts. Taylor Stiver labored in the circle, giving up 10 hits and walking four in five-plus innings.
Dishman, however, saw marked improvement across the board for his club, which host Goshen Friday, one of the two NLC teams the Tigers have beaten this season.
“We’ve been making big strides and playing a lot of girls on both JV and varsity,” Dishman said. “The thing that still kills us is bobbling the ball, making an error, then giving up three or four runs. I thought we had some good approaches at the plate. We are working at going in the right direction.”
Wawasee moves to 14-2 overall and 8-0 in the NLC with a tough game Friday night at home against Elkhart Memorial.
“Memorial is very dangerous and I know they can hit the ball,” Knipper said. “They hit the ball hard off Lemberg even though we won really big. But we threw Fretz at the end of the game and they couldn’t hit her. It’ll be interesting to see what they can do against her now with the confidence she has going into Friday.”
The JV game had Wawasee come out on top, 8-7, in a wild one.
Warsaw took a 7-6 lead in the top of the sixth inning only for Wawasee to score two unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth on a throwing error on a sacrifice attempt.
Nicole Streby led Wawasee with a homer and three RBIs and Christy Carson added two hits and two runs scored. Emily Newton had two hits and two RBIs for the Lady Tigers.