By RON PRESTON
The afternoon light rain showers didn’t dampened the outcome of a non-conference softball double header by the Abilene Cowgirls and the Smoky Valley Vikings at the Bill Gravette Sports Complex Friday evening.
The Cowgirls and the Lady Vikings of Lindsborg split the double header with the Lady Vikings taking the first game 2-1 and the Cowgirls battling back in the nightcap 7-1.
In the opener, the Cowgirls took the early lead in their half of the first inning on a lead-off double by second baseman Shay Hoekman, who advanced to third on a fielder’s choice grounder by Kiley Crider and scored on a single by Carly Gassman.
Abilene’s senior pitcher Aldyn Wildey pitched three strong innings not allowing a Viking runner past second base while striking out six during this time.
The Lady Vikings took the lead in the fourth on a lead-off single by Emily Norberg, followed by a bloop single from Hannah McBride and both runners scored after one out on a Smoky Valley sacrifice bunt and two Cowgirl errors that lead to a 2-1 Viking lead.
“The first game was a really good game, Jenna Klein hit really well for us, but we had a couple of base running mistakes that took us out of the game,” said Cowgirl Coach LouAna Koochel.
“It was a good game, a couple of errors that lead to their two runs or else we win,” commented Koochal.
Wildey (5-6) struck out seven in the opener allowing five hits and walking three.
The Cowgirls struggled at the plate in the opener against Smoky Valley’s Eryn Stockman, who was able to get six ground ball outs, striking out six and getting the possible tying run in the bottom of the seventh on a controversial double play at third to end the game.
“I was pleased with how the girls hit Stockman, honestly, she’s a good player, she really is,” said coach Koochel.
“She leads their league, Mid Central Activities Association, in batting average as well and Aldyn did really well in shutting her down,” coach Koochel said.
The never say never Cowgirls came back in the nightcap and jumped on Lady Viking pitcher McBride by scoring four runs in the first and adding three more in their half of the second.
Crider hit a one out single to left followed by a Gassman single. Michaela Olberding followed with a single to center to score Crider and move Gassman to third. Leftfielder Jenna Klein singled to left scoring Gassman and advancing Olberding to third.
First baseman Mallory Olberding walked and eventually ended up at third base off a double by right fielder Jayme Friederich that also scored Michaela Olberding and Klein.
In the Cowgirl second inning, Hoekman lead off with a walk and scored on the first of back-to-back triples by Gassman and Michaela Olberding. Olberding scored the final run for the Cowgirls on a fly out to center by Wildman.
Meanwhile, Wildey was on the bump for the Cowgirls allowing one run on two hits, striking out five and walking two to even her record at 6-6.
It was senior night at the ball field and the Cowgirls’ five seniors Kiley Crider, Carly Gassman, Michaela Olberding, Shay Hoekman and Aldyn Wildey were honored and recognized along with their parents between games.
The Cowgirls are 7-7 and will next travel to Chapman to take on the Irish, Tuesday evening.
Smoky Valley0 0 0 2 0 0 0 – 2-4-0
Abilene (6-7)1 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 1-7-2
WP: Stochman LP: Wildey
Smoky Valley0 0 0 1 0 0 0 – 1-2-1
Abilene (7-7) 4 3 0 0 0 0 x – 7-6-2
WP: Wildey LP: McBride