By Rob Potter
JEFFERSONVILLE The Sullivan West softball team played its final home game of the regular season last Thursday afternoon.
And the Lady Bulldogs left Lauren Hughson Field on SW’s Jeffersonville campus with smiles on their faces after shutting out the Liberty Lady Indians, 8-0, in the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV game.
SW (9-9, 6-1 Div. IV) wasted little time in taking the lead. Angela DiSanto, who was the first Lady Bulldog to step into the batter’s box in the bottom of the first inning, ripped an inside-the-park home run to center field to give SW a 1-0 advantage.
The Lady Bulldogs added two more runs in the frame. Gabrielle Humleker and Katerina Gaebel both scored when Hannah Schwatz reached base on an error.
Julianne Reggero led off the bottom of the second for SW with a double to right field. After Liberty (3-14, 3-5 Div. IV) recorded two outs, Reggero scored on Gaebel’s single to push the Lady Bulldogs’ lead to 4-0.
SW scored its final four runs of the contest in the bottom of the fourth. Humleker reached base on an error and advanced to third on another Lady Indians’ miscue. She scored when Lindsey Bauer ripped a single to center field.
Later in the frame, both Bauer and Joanna Trujillo crossed home plate when teammates drew bases-loaded walks from Liberty pitcher Allie Maltese.
Schwatz, who was one of those Lady Bulldogs who walked, scored on Reggero’s single to make it an 8-0 game.
The Lady Indians’ best opportunity to score a run came in the top of the second. With two outs, Maltese blasted a triple to deep right field. But SW pitcher Autumn Ackermann got the next Liberty batter to hit a ground ball right back to the pitcher’s circle. Ackermann calmly fielded the ball and threw it to first baseman Schwatz to end the inning.
Liberty Coach Matt Stoddard was understandably disappointed following the game. Earlier in the week, the Lady Indians had a 3-3 mark in Div. IV., which meant they needed to win just one of their two remaining Div. IV games to qualify for the upcoming Section IX Class B Tournament. Unfortunately for the Lady Indians, they lost to James I. O’Neill on Wednesday afternoon and then fell to SW on Thursday afternoon.
“We needed to get some more hits today,” Stoddard said. “We needed those hits to score runs.”
Looking at the big picture, Stoddard, who is in his first year of guiding the Lady Indians, found some positives.
“I am very proud of these girls,” he said. “They worked hard and improved all season.”
One of those girls, senior center fielder Ceara Williams, made two excellent defensive plays in the game. In the bottom of the third and again in the bottom of the fourth, Williams threw out a runner at home plate.
“Ceara has a cannon for an arm,” Stoddard said. “She has been throwing like that all year.”
SW Coach Mike Ellmauer was relieved to get a win over the Lady Indians.
“This is the first time in a few seasons that we beat Liberty here at home,” he said. “I was nervous today given Liberty’s history here at our field.”
In addition to praising his players for “taking advantage of Liberty’s miscues,” Ellmauer noted that the Lady Bulldogs had good pitching and defense throughout the contest.
“Autumn [Ackermann] pitched a very good game,” Ellmauer said. “She kept their hitters off balance. Thank God we played good defense behind her.”
Ackermann gave up three hits, had three strikeouts and walked only one batter.
Ellmauer also noted that his team has had a very good season and will be playing in the Section IX Class B Tournament.
“These kids are the most responsive group we have had in a long time,” said Ellmauer, referring to the “we” of himself, Assistant Coach Diane Staves and Assistant Coach Ken Uy. “They really listen to us and pay attention.”