Tonganoxie softball settles for split at Piper
For all the timely hits and runs the Tonganoxie High softball team produced in the first game of a doubleheader at Piper on Thursday, the Chieftains just couldn’t duplicate the same kind of effective offense in Game 2.
THS had to settle for a split at Kansas City, Kan., with a 7-3 win and a 4-3 loss to the Pirates.
Senior pitcher Tiffany Jacobs threw for Tonganoxie in the four-run win. She struck out nine, walked four and gave up seven hits.
Chieftains coach Lee Matzeder said Jacobs did her job in the circle and her teammates had her back in the batter’s box.
“We gave her run support. That's the key,” Matzeder said. “That’s what didn't happen to Morgan (Oroke, starting pitcher) in the second game.”
THS (5-5) did most of its damage in the top of the third inning. Kaitlyn Wolken doubled before Tonganoxie put together a four-run rally with two outs.
Maggie Gripka sent Wolken home with a single to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. After that, Makayla Leslie drew a base on balls, Lainey Walker was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Kailan Kuzmic hit a two-run single.
An Oroke base hit scored courtesy runner Marissa Martin and Tonganoxie took a 4-0 lead.
“That's timely hitting,” Matzeder said. “Again, we didn't have that the second game.”
The Chieftains took a 5-0 lead in the fourth inning after junior Haley Smith singled and Wolken drove her home with a double.
Piper scored one run in the bottom of the fourth and added two more in the fifth to cut the THS lead to two runs but Tonganoxie added two more in the top of the sixth. Wolken reached on an error, Amanda Holroyd singled, the two runners advanced to scoring position on a passed ball and Leslie knocked them both in with a double.
Tonganoxie finished with 10 hits in the win, but that total dropped to five in Game 2, a one-run loss.
Oroke, a freshman pitcher, suffered the defeat, but she only walked three batters and gave up eight hits.
“She was throwing strikes. That's what we have to do,” Matzeder said. “She pitched fine, we just didn't have any run support for her.”
The game was scoreless before Tonganoxie took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Wolken singled, then made her way around the bases and eventually scored thanks to three non-consecutive passed balls.
However, the Pirates responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning.
“That was a killer,” Matzeder said. “They just had one hot inning.”
The Chieftains added two runs in the fifth. First, Martin doubled and Oroke drove her in with a single. Then, an RBI-single from Smith scored Oroke.
However, Tonganoxie’s second-year coach said, THS could have scored more than a pair of runs in the fifth.
“What killed us then is we had runners on first and second with no outs,” Matzeder said. “We just couldn't get the bunts down. We had opportunities.”
Although the coach would have liked to pick up a sweep at Piper, he isn’t discouraged with the team’s progress.
“We're probably right where we need to be but our record doesn't indicate it,” Matzeder said, noting THS has two one-run losses this season. “We're a step ahead of where we were last year, we've just got to finish games.”
Tonganoxie will have plenty of chances to do that this week with three doubleheaders scheduled in a four-day span.
“We'll see what we're made of this week,” the coach said.
Tonganoxie played host to Pleasant Ridge on Tuesday after The Mirror’s deadline. Go to tonganoxiemirror.com for details.
The Chieftains have another home date at 4:30 p.m. Thursday against Lansing and hit the road for a 4:30 p.m. Friday twinbill at Spring Hill.