By RON PRESTON
CHAPMAN – The sun was finally shinning and there was a gentle breeze in the air as the Abilene Cowgirls rattled their bats and played steady defense against North Central Kansas League foe Chapman Irish in a softball double-header sweep Tuesday.
The Cowgirls pounded out 25 hits on the night and swept their arch rival Chapman 4-2 and 13-8 at Kyle Blixt Memorial Field in Chapman.
“It’s a good feeling, it was awesome to get a sweep off a good team like Chapman,” Cowgirl Coach LouAna Koochel said.
“We brought out our bats tonight. It was a perfect time for us to swing the bats,” Koochel said.
Chapman jumped out to an early lead in its half of the second inning in game one, scoring two runs on two hits, a stolen base and a passed ball to make the score 2-0 Irish.
Cowgirl pitcher Aldyn Wildey shut down the Lady Irish allowing two runs on five hits, striking out three and walking two batters.
The Cowgirl bats came alive in their half of the fourth when Jenna Klein led off with a hard hit double to left field.
Centerfielder Shelby Mascareno was hit by a pitch advancing Klein to second. Second baseman Shay Hoekman followed with a two-out line drive to left that ended up being an error on the Irish allowing Klein to score and Mascareno and Hoekman advancing to third and second on the play.
Chapman pitcher Morgan Beemer was able to get a ground out for the third out bringing the score 2-1, Chapman.
Catcher Carly Gassman led off the fifth singling to center field and advancing to second as Michaela Olberding reached first on an Irish error.
Klein got her second hit of the game with and RBI single to center scoring Gassman and advancing Olberding to second base. Mascareno singled to left for her second hit of the game scoring Olberding to give the Cowgirls a 3-2 lead.
The Cowgirls added an insurance run in the top of the seventh with Wildey walking to lead off the inning and scored on a two-out line drive double off the bat of Mascareno to make final 4-2 Cowgirls.
Gassman and Mascareno each had three hits in the first game.
Klein added a pair of hits driving in one and Mascareno had two RBI’s.
Chapman’s Gillian Farley and Abby Sweet had two hits each for the Lady Irish.
Beemer gave up four runs on 10 hits, striking out one and walking three in the game.
“It’s been a little while since we played, with rain outs, etc. and it showed tonight,” Chapman Coach Jeff Beemer said following the game.
Game two saw Mallory Olberding take the hill for the Cowgirls for just her third outing of the season.
Olberding allowed 13 hits, eight runs (three earned), walking one and striking out one Irish batter.
“Mallory did great. She came in and pitched outs. Chapman has a good hitting team and they are going to hit the ball and we just had to make the outs and we did, particularly at the end of the game in order to win,” coach Koochel said.
Abilene scattered 15 hits in the nightcap off starting pitcher Sweet and Beemer in relief.
The Cowgirls jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first off a lead-off triple by Shay Hoekman, one of her four hits in the game.
“We came out hitting in the second game, scored three runs in the top of the first but then allowed six runs in the bottom of the inning. We fought back and kept hitting the ball and scored in just about every inning,” Koochel said.
Hoekman scored when Kiley Crider reached on an error. Crider stole second base and scored on a Gassman double to center, and she later scored on a couple of ground out- fielder choice plays.
Chapman came right back in the bottom of the first inning and scored six runs of their own taking a 6-3 lead.
The Irish scored six runs on five hits, two Cowgirl errors and a passed ball.
“We were up and everything we were doing well for the season we didn’t do well tonight,” coach Beemer said.
The Cowgirls tied the game in their half of the second with a lead- off double by Bree Lake.
Lake scored on a double from Hailey Devine, who then scored on a double by Hoekman.
Hoekman scored on a single by Gassman tying the game at 6-6.
The Cowgirls took the lead for good in game two by adding two runs on four hits and an Irish error, making the score 8-6 Cowgirls.
Abilene added two runs in the fifth and three more in the seventh after Chapman staged a two-run come back in their half of the sixth making the final 13-8.
Hoekman was 4-4 with three runs scored and two RBI’s in the second game; Gassman went 3-5 and driving in three runs; Lake had two hits and scored two runs while Mascareno went 3-4 with two runs scored and driving in one. Crider and Devine both drove in a pair of runs for the Cowgirls.
Paige Altwegg had two hits and three runs driven in for the Irish in game two. Farley had a pair of RBI’s for the Irish and Daryan Weis, Macey Langvardt, Sweet and Rachel Sutter all had a pair of hits for the Lady Irish in game two.
Sweet got the start for the Irish in the nightcap and pitched three innings allowing eight runs (five earned) on nine hits and striking out one.
Beemer pitched the final four innings allowing five Cowgirl runs on six hits, walking two and striking out one batter.
“We didn’t pitch well and we didn’t play defense well and those were things we have been hanging our hat on and we didn’t take care of business. When you don’t take care of business, that’s what happens,” coach Beemer concluded.
Next up for Abilene is a conference double-header at Wamego scheduled for Friday, while Chapman is scheduled to host St. Mary’s Friday.
Abilene (8-7) 0 0 0 1 2 0 1- 4-10-1
Chapman 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 – 2-5-4
WP: Wildey (7-6) LP: Beemer
Abilene (9-7) 3 3 2 0 2 0 3 – 13-15-2
Chapman 6 0 0 0 0 2 0 – 8-13-4
WP: Olberding (2-1) LP: Sweet