SYRACUSE – Wawasee didn’t take long to get over its first loss of the season as the Lady Warriors rebounded less than 24 hours later to crush Triton, 11-1, in a five inning game Saturday morning.
Wawasee jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and never looked back, fueled by a line drive, three-run homer by Hannah Haines through the teeth of a stiff breeze. That would be more than enough for Haines, who started her first varsity game in the circle and looked like an old pro.
Haines, who had only made two relief pitching appearances in the past two years, looked like the 25-game winner she was as a freshman JV pitcher. Haines allowed just four hits, walked none and struck out five in the complete game.
“It’s a big confidence booster for us to have Hannah pitch like that,” said Wawasee head coach Mike Barger. “For us to have a third pitcher, we bring in Haines and give teams yet another thing to have to deal with. Our pitching isn’t quite where we want it, but this was a nice piece of the puzzle to add. The defense was there today, we made some plays to take the load off the pitching. Hannah did a good job taking that and making it work.”
Haines was also stout at the dish, adding two singles to the homer and driving in four altogether.
Madie Wilson continued to get on base, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored, Meghan Fretz was 2-for-4 with three runs scored and Riley Kunkle added a two-run single.
Triton, which had to do some creative measuring to come up with a pair of wins over Goshen and Tippecanoe Valley earlier in the week, didn’t have the magic on Saturday. The lone Trojan run came in the third when Whytnie Miller reached on a bunt single, followed by a ringing triple in the right-center gap by Taytum Hargrave.
Triton’s offense wasn’t stagnant, with Nicole Sechrist and Courtney Jennings also getting solid singles, but Haines and the defense behind her were solid enough to keep the scoreboard far apart.
“We knew Wawasee was going to be our toughest challenge so far, and maybe the whole year,” said Triton head coach Steve McBride. “Today I wanted to see us compete, and for the most part, I thought we did. But you can’t give up four runs right off the bat to a team like that. We stuck with them, we didn’t quit. And that’s what I wanted to see. But give credit to Wawasee, they are a very good team. They pounded the ball.”
Wawasee, which lost its first game of the season Friday night, 3-2, at Manchester, moves to 6-1 heading into the Northern Lakes Conference season Monday at Warsaw. Barger was pleased with his team’s response, particularly with the upcoming schedule that includes another road game Wednesday at Memorial.
“From bouncing back from last night to today, we had to get the train back on the track,” Barger said. “It was a tough loss last night, but our next focus was Triton and I think we came in prepared for that and showed it. The next game is Warsaw, and that’s our next focus. We step into conference now and we have one job, the game in front of us.”
Triton falls to 4-3 and will continue to work through its non-conference slate with a game at Manchester Thursday and a homer with Culver Academy on Friday.
“We have some similar games coming up, against Manchester and Jimtown and teams that can really play,” McBride said. “How are we going to compete? I want to see us go out and play hard. We did that today, but they were just better than us. I didn’t see us get our dobbers down today. We stayed in it, and we are going to have to with some of the teams we have coming up.”