Gothenburg softball team takes consolation honors
The McCook Invitational provided the Gothenburg softball team with a chance to add three wins to the Swedes’ season record.
With a victory likely against winless Alliance in the opening round, Class A North Platte was all that stood as an obstacle to a potential championship.
That win over Alliance did occur (18-3), but the Bulldogs provided the hiccup in the scenario that sent the Swedes to the consolation finals.
North Platte won 3-1. Gothenburg went on to defeat Holdrege 5-2 to improve to 7-2 on the season.
Gothenburg was forced to make some lineup adjustments for the tournament because of injuries. Taylor Wolf suffered a hamstring pull while stretching to make a catch at first base in the Lexington game Thursday. She’ll likely be out quite a few games, according to coach Roger Neujahr.
While stepping off the bus before leaving for McCook sophomore utility player Ashley Eskew suffered what may be a hairline fracture.
Replacements performed well. In fact, freshman Katlin Harm went to right field and threw two runners out at first base on regular base hits to right field against North Platte.
Gothenburg competes in the Scottsbluff Invitational this weekend.
Gothenburg rolls 18-3
The Swedes could have named the score in an 18-3 thrashing of Alliance.
“We scored 12 runs in the first inning and we probably could have scored 25,” Gothenburg coach Roger Neujahr said.
The Swedes batted through the order twice in the opening inning and finished with seven hits, including a two-run homer by Kyndal Holmes and a two-run double by Emily Franzen. Six walks prolonged the rally.
It looked like the second frame was going to be similar to the first. Five of Gothenburg’s first six batters hit safely and two more reached with a walk and hit-by-pitch, all leading to six runs.
By then, Neujahr had enough. With the bases loaded, he had the lead runner leave the base early before a pitch is thrown for an automatic out three consecutive times to end the inning.
A single hit, a couple of errors, a walk and a hit batter allowed Alliance to score three runs in the third before the game ended.
A bright spot for Gothenburg was Sam Tiedemann who threw a one-hitter.
“She got some real varsity action and did a good job for us,” Neujahr said.
NP holds off Swedes 3-1
North Platte raised its record to 7-1 with a 3-1 victory over Gothenburg.
Other than a first inning solo home run by Brittyn Munster, the Swedes couldn’t take advantage of several scoring opportunities.
“We knew they would be tough,” Neujahr said. “At least eight of their starters are back.
“We knew we would have to play a good game and, honestly, we did. I was disappointed we lost, but happy with the way we played.”
North Platte combined a couple of singles for one run in the first that Munster answered in the bottom of the inning.
The Bulldogs added two more in the fifth, taking advantage of a couple of Gothenburg errors.
Gothenburg lost two scoring chances by unusual umpire calls which Neujahr said were both correct.
Hanna Wolf was at second base after reaching on an error. Siera Schwanz followed and laid down a perfect bunt that turned out to be not so perfect.
“They couldn’t get her out,” the coach said. “They threw it away. The right fielder went to pick it up and kicked the ball over to their dugout.”
Meanwhile Wolf scored and was headed to the dugout while Schwanz was racing for third. Or so it seemed. That’s when the umpire could finally be heard calling it a dead ball and Schwanz out.
Schwanz, a slap hitter, laid down the bunt and was off and running when she dropped the bat in the playing field. Apparently the bunted ball rolled into the bat ending the two-out rally in the third inning.
“The rule is that if it hits the bat (a second time) it’s an out,” Neujahr said.
Another similar, but slightly different play, occurred in the next inning. Becca Riley led off the frame with a walk. Katlin Harm was bunting to advance the runner. The ball bounced off the ground and into the air, grazing her shoulder, as she took off for first. It was an automatic out.
The Swedes finished the game with eight runners left on base—three of whom were in scoring position.
Swedes bounce back 5-2
Gothenburg took consolation honors with a 5-2 win over Holdrege (6-3).
“We were really happy with how the team bounced back after the loss and playing pretty hard,” Neujahr said.
Except for two players, the Swedes had a tough game at the plate with just two hits for the remaining seven batters.
Kyndal Holmes and Hanna Wolf were a good 1-2 punch, though.
Holmes hit three consecutive doubles, a school record. Wolf followed two of those with a double and a single to score two runs.
Gothenburg led 1-0 after one frame and gained a 3-1 lead in the third. Shay Wear started the rally with a triple.
The Dusters narrowed the gap with a two-run fourth inning capitalizing on two singles and an error.
The Swedes gained some breathing room with solo runs in the fifth and seventh innings.
Amanda Barkmeier scattered five hits and did not give up an earned run in her seventh victory of the season.
“Amanda did a good job bouncing back,” the coach said, “and she did a good job pitching in the North Platte game.”