GMG turned away by Tigers
GREEN MOUNTAIN — Through the first inning, the young GMG Wolverines softball team was ready for a fight against the South Hardin Tigers Tuesday afternoon.
Then, with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the second inning, the Tigers delivered an early hammer blow: a grand slam off of GMG pitcher Emily Vaughn to give the Tigers a commanding 7-1 lead and sap the positive energy from GMG (2-7). It was a stroll for South Hardin (2-5) the rest of the game, ending in a 12-1 win shortened to five innings by the ten-run rule.
Head coach Kati Barnes said it was tough to keep the team’s spirits up following the grand slam.
“We have to be there for the pitcher,” Barnes said. “It’s hard on the team, but it’s even harder for the pitcher, and so we told them to be positive and uplifting to the pitcher.”
It’s been a trying season for the Wolverines, who have no seniors playing and only two juniors making a significant impact — Emily Vaughn, Tuesday’s starting pitcher and only run scorer for GMG, and Saige Frost. Freshman Kaylea Duden led the Wolverines with two hits and drove in the team’s only run. Jenna Yilek had the team’s other hit.
Three eighth-graders started the game for the Wolverines and a fourth pinch-hit during the contest.
The Wolverines were down 7-1 after two innings, but a four-run third inning from South Hardin piled on the misery.
The third inning also saw a pitching change for GMG, with Vaughn making way for eighth-grader Adelyn Sienknecht after 2 2/3 innings. Vaughn gave up 11 runs (nine earned) on five hits and six walks. Sienknecht gave up one earned run on four hits and one walk in 2 1/3 innings.
The youthful team has shown growth during the shortened season, Barnes said.
“We’re working hard,” Barnes said. “It’s taking a lot of time to practice and help their batting stances and changing things, but they’re doing it well and learning quickly. We can see that on the field every day.”
In the fourth inning, both clubs were held scoreless. But a run early in the top of the fifth inning put the Tigers over the threshold to pick up their second win of the season.
GMG has a two-day break before the next game on the schedule — a road contest against conference rivals Baxter Friday at 5 p.m.
Barnes said the team’s small mistakes have to be addressed.
“It was pretty rough,” Barnes said. “They weren’t making huge mistakes in the outfield, but after the grand slam, they just kind of beat themselves up.”