Drew Lewis needed a bit of a confidence boost.
With North Scott's softball team clinging to a one-run lead in the opener of a doubleheader against Bettendorf, the Lancer junior pitcher was trying to get the last out to close the game.
However, Lewis found herself facing a 2-0 count, the tying run on second base.
Head coach Holly Hoelting called a mound visit. She gave Lewis the pep talk she needed.
"I said I couldn't throw any strikes and (Hoelting) said, 'We don't talk like that, you can do it, you've got this,'" Lewis said. "It means a lot, because it helps you out as a pitcher, knowing that your coach believes in you so you can believe in yourself."
The message worked.
Lewis threw three straight strikes to end the game with Class 4A No. 4 North Scott grabbing a 2-1 win. Lewis also closed out the nightcap, pitching the final three innings of a 5-2 North Scott victory.
"I think that was really important," Hoelting said of the final out of the first game. "Bettendorf's a good team and we knew coming in here it wasn't going to be two easy wins. So for us, it was about winning each inning and I think we did that for the most part."
Stranding the tying run at second base was something of a theme for the Class 5A 14th-ranked Bulldogs (18-12, 9-7). Bettendorf stranded 20 base runners between the two games, including leaving the bases loaded in the second inning of the nightcap, unable to add onto an RBI single from Jessica Wells that gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
The inability to score runners wasn't for lack of trying. Several balls were hit hard, just right at North Scott fielders.
"It's kind of been that way over the last six games, starting with PV," Bettendorf head coach Bob Matthys said. "I'm proud of our girls, it's not for a lack of enthusiasm, it's not for a lack of effort ... we're just going through one of those funks right now."
However, Matthys did address his team's approach following the sweep.
"We talked about having a better approach at the plate, swinging at pitches we should be swinging at," he said. "It seems like a lot of times we're in a funk where we might have a 1-0 count and we're swinging at a changeup instead of taking it. We just need to have a little better approach at the plate when we have runners in scoring position."
North Scott (23-9, 12-4) capitalized on Bettendorf's inability to do so with five runs in the third inning of the nightcap, thanks in part to two Bulldog errors.
Sophia DelVecchio hit a home run over the scoreboard in left field in the bottom of the inning but Bettendorf couldn't get any closer.
The Lancers' aggressive approach also paid off in the opener. Taylor Robertson singled on the first pitch of the game, then scored two batters later on an RBI single from Rachel Anderson. That lead doubled with a home run from Ashlynn Shannon — who also pitched the Game 1 win — in the second inning.
"We really wanted to prove a point and get the two games against Bettendorf tonight," said junior Brooke Kilburg, who hit an RBI triple as part of North Scott's five-run inning in the nightcap. "No matter who we're playing in the MAC, we can take both games. ... This gives us a lot of confidence."
Maggie Erpelding cut into the lead with an RBI single in the sixth inning before Lewis closed out the game.