LINCOLN — One big inning made the difference in both games of Wednesday’s Nebraska Coaches Association all-star softball doubleheader.
The Blue and Red teams each won a game before a crowd of 692 fans at arid Bowlin Stadium. There was more brown grass than green because the turf is due to be replaced beginning Thursday in preparation for the 2013 Big Ten softball tournament.
After the Blues won the opener 4-3, the Reds bounced back for a 5-3 win in the nightcap.
Coaches Todd Petersen of Papillion-La Vista (Blues) and Steve Kerkman of defending Class A state champion Millard South (Reds) said the games were so even because both rosters had a good balance of pitching and hitting.
“It was one inning out of seven that made the difference in both games,” Kerkman said. “Our pitching was a lot better the second game than the first. All three of them did well in the second game.”
In the first game, the decisive inning was the fifth. The Reds broke a 1-1 tie with two runs before the Blues responded with three in the bottom of the inning.
With Lincoln Southwest graduates Tania Carroll and Bailey Schulenberg on base, Dana Norris of Lincoln Southeast drove Carroll home with an RBI single. Schulenberg then snuck home before the Blue defense got the ball back to the pitcher.
Singles by a pair of Katies — Petersen of Papillion-La Vista and Soukup of Omaha Burke — combined with four walks helped the Blues erase the two-run deficit and produce what turned out to be the winning run.
“We only had one hit up to that point so we picked a good time to put it all together,” Todd Petersen said. “I thought both teams competed really hard, which makes it fun. We were down in that second game, but we still put pressure on them at the end.”
It was the third inning that proved pivotal in the nightcap. The Blue squad scored the first two runs of the game. It started with a single by Soukup, who then stole second and moved to third on a groundout.
Kaitlin Hehnke of Grand Island then sent a fly ball to left field that was tough to judge because of a hard wind. Soukup scored and that play, then Hehnke scored on a double by Wahoo’s Aubrey Voboril.
The Red team wasted no time getting things started in the bottom of the third as consecutive singles by Blair’s Michelle Trulin, Teal Anderson of Hastings Adams Central and Schulenberg loaded the bases. Schulenberg finished the doubleheader with five hits.
Shannon Daly of Omaha Marian singled to left to bring Trulin home, and Anderson scored on an error as the ball got by the left fielder to tie the score. Kearney’s Christina Bugay then singled to right to plate Schulenberg before Carroll, pinch-running for Daly, scored on a wild pitch.
Red ......................001 020 0—3 7 2
Blue..........................010 030 x—4 4 5
W: Kylie Harpst. L: Jenn Ulrich. 2B: R, Bailey Schulenberg; B, Sydney Hames.
Blue.....................002 000 0—3 6 2
Red....................004 010 x—5 9 2
W: Shelby Wobken. L: Sydney Hames. 2B: B, Aubrey Voboril. R, Bailey Schulenberg.
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