JANESVILLE – On Thursday, June 6, the ninth-ranked Janesville softball team made quick work of in-county rival, Denver, as the Wildcats rolled to a four-inning 12-0 victory.
With the win, Janesville moved to 5-2 on the year, while the Cyclones dropped to 0-13.
Shelly Sorensen was proud of how her team came out and played, especially after being
“We’ve been off for about a week, so it was good to get back into it again,” Sorensen said. “I felt the girls did a good job. Bailey led them on the pitcher’s mound and did a really good job. She fell behind in the count at times, but she was able to work back through. Even when they [Denver] got people on, our defense came through and kept them from scoring.”
Janesville came out from the start, as they had a three-run first inning. Pyper McCarville drew a walk, stole second, reached third on a fielder’s choice and stole home on a passed ball. Naomi Hovenga also reached base on a single, stole second and went to third on a passed ball, and she scored on a sacrifice fly by Bailey Hoff to make it 2-0, Wildcats. Grace Hovenga was the third run to be plated in the inning, as she reached on a hit-by-pitch, advanced to second on a passed ball and made it to third on Hoff’s sacrifice fly, and Grace later stole home for a 3-0 lead after the first inning.
Denver was unable to answer in the top of the second, but Janesville continued their scoring frenzy in the bottom half of the inning. Janesville’s Kali Pletz got on a base with a single and made her way around the bases on three wild pitches. Pyper McCarville was walked again and scored on two wild pitches and a stolen base. Grace Hovenga drew a walk and got home with three stolen bases. Hoff found her way on base with a walk and also scored on a wild pitch, which Cloey McCarville stole home during the next at-bat, which put the score at 8-0 after two complete innings.
In the bottom of the third, after a scoreless top of the inning by the Cyclones, the Wildcats’ Kamryn Umthum found herself on base after drawing the walk. The following at-bat, Pletz was walked and advanced Umthum to second base. It was a sacrifice fly by Pyper McCarville that scored Umthum, while Pletz scored on a Grace Hovenga single, which made it 10-0 after three.
The Cyclones caught themselves trying to start a rally in the top of the fourth inning, as Allison Bonnett was walked and later stole second, which was followed by Morgan Smith also drawing a walk for the Cyclones. With two on and one out, Denver’s Reese Johnson laid down the sacrifice bunt, which advanced Bonnett to third and Smith to second. Johnson was thrown out at first for the second out of the inning, and Avery Forde popped up to Janesville’s first baseman, Kennedy Eastman for the final out of the inning.
Sorensen said getting the out on Denver’s sacrifice bunt attempt was needed to keep the momentum with the Wildcats.
“They bunted with two on and Hovenga came in from third and got the out at first and didn’t panic,” Sorensen said. “If you don’t make that play, you never know if it is going to open up anything. We got the out and were able to get out of the inning, and those little things really become big things.”
Janesville drew four-straight walks in the bottom of the fourth frame, as Hoff, Cloey McCarville, Eastman and Hope Hovenga made their way on base. It was Hope Hovenga’s walk that plated Hoff, while Umthum’s single during the next at-bat won the game, 12-0, for the Wildcats.
Grace Hovenga and Pletz each finished 1-1, while Pyper McCarville, Grace Hovenga, Hoff, Hope Hovenga and Umthum each tallied an RBI.
Sorensen said she was impressed with how the Wildcats competed at the plate Thursday night.
“We got the bats going with a lot of good offense,” Sorensen said. “We were very aggressive base runners and that pays off. They are trying some different things. We had a lot of good two-strike hits or maybe a sac fly to come through, even if they were down in the count, to come through and score runs.”
In the circle for Janesville, Hoff pitched four innings, allowed one hit, walked three and fanned five.
Denver coaches Dani Gordon and Mara Forsyth know the Cyclones’ are struggling at this point in the season.
Moving forward, the Cyclones are going to be strive to become more aggressive in all facets of the game.
“They play on their heels a lot,” Forsyth said. “That’s a step we are trying to do and that’s a mindset. We do have a lot of young players on our team. We have to change from the mindset of just making a play to always thinking ahead about the next play. It’s something we are working on as a team. We’ve seen little bits of progress as we’ve gone through the season.”
With seven games down, Sorensen said Thursday’s win was a good win to get early on in the season.
“It says a lot,” Sorensen said. “They are still trying to find their way this year, and it’s still early. They are still learning. Any win is a good win.”