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PREP SOFTBALL | ASSUMPTION 18-17, DAVENPORT WEST 5-2

Assumption bats, baserunners take off in MAC sweep at West

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The Assumption softball team caused plenty of havoc on the base paths in a doubleheader sweep of Davenport West on Thursday night.

The Class 3A No. 2 Knights pounded out 39 hits between an 18-5 win in the opener before a 17-2 win in five innings in the nightcap.

Assumption (11-5, 3-5 MAC) kept constant pressure on the young Falcons (13-7, 4-6) by stealing bases and pushing for the extra base, which led to a number of errors from West.

Assumption stole six bases as West committed seven errors in Game 1. The Knights led 12-1 after the top of the fifth inning before the Falcons scored four times to extend the game. Assumption stole four more bases and out-hit West 18-3 in Game 2.

Assumption senior Sydney Roe went 3-for-4 and scored three runs, including a three-run home run in the first inning of Game 2. She hit a two-run double for her second hit of the opener.

“We have some speed on the base paths and we want to try to take advantage of all those opportunities,” she said of the approach once on base. “More errors means more free bases for us, so we’ll take them.”

Isabella Krogman was 4-for-5 with three RBIs in Game 1 as the team built a big lead for starting pitcher Bella Nigey (7-2), who got the win after going four innings with two hits allowed. She struck out seven with no walks before the Falcons got things going against the bullpen.

Nigey also got the win in Game 2 after getting the start, pitching three innings with three strikeouts, one walk and one unearned run allowed.

Roe said the team hit reset on its hitting after not hitting the ball very hard.

“We stuck with the mechanics that we know work,” she said, “and hopefully we keep it going into this weekend.”

A rough start to conference play after getting swept back-to-back by strong North Scott and Pleasant Valley teams also provided a bit of a wakeup call for Assumption.

“It woke us up enough to get more fire in us to take the rest of the season out hard,” she said, “to make sure we get that good seeding and stuff for postseason.”

That showed up against West as the Knights scored at least one run in 11 of the 12 innings played.

“We took them seriously and we just wanted to get it done and get out of here,” Roe said.

Abby Odean was 4-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI in the nightcap and Jessie Wardlow had two hits and two RBIs following two hits, two runs, an RBI and two stolen bases from the leadoff spot in the opener.

Assumption coach Ron Ferrill said the team made some good adjustments to its hitting.

“I’ve been pretty demanding a few people make some significant changes to their swings and their approaches at the plate,” he said. “It wasn’t perfect, but we definitely saw some big changes from some people, some great approaches at the plate, took a few more pitches than we have been.

“I’m most pleased not necessarily by the score, but just what I saw out of my hitters and their approaches today.”

Ferrill said looking for that extra base is pounded into the team’s head day in and day out.

“Their job is to find their way to the next base any way they can,” he said. “Any way they can pick up 60 feet without me having to bunt or sacrifice somebody, then that’s a game changer as far as we’re concerned.”

West’s Abbey Smith hit a solo home run in the fifth inning of Game 2 and went 2-for-4 from the leadoff spot in the opener. McKenzie Harland also homered for the Falcons in Game 1.

West coach Steve Saladino said beating the Knights was a tall task for his team.

“It’s going to take a cold day in hell for them to screw up and for someone to be hotter than hell to put the damper on them,” he said. “We’ve got some kids hurt in key positions so I had to go with some young kids that have no varsity experience.”

Youth, inexperience, and injuries while contending against one of the top teams in the state in its class was too much to ask. He’s confident the team can build its way back up and compete moving forward.

“The kids aren’t used to that,” he said. “They don’t see that every time they play.”

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