Warriors make imporovements at the plate
The Marion softball offense was clicking on Tuesday with 10-5 and 18-6 victories against Sedgwick.
The Warriors scored about every way imaginable in the second game. They put together a six-run first inning. For the final run of the frame, JayDee Schafers scored after she was thrown out at the plate, obstruction was called on third baseman who held her up as she was rounding the bag.
Schafers was again involved on a strange play two innings later. She advanced from third when a throw went Sedgwick’s second baseman playing up near the pitching rubber. She was caught in a run down before scoring on a throwing error by the Sedgwick third baseman. It was part of a five-run third inning.
Andrea Nordquist had an RBI walk in the bottom of the fourth inning. Schafers was involved with one normal play, an RBI single for the last run of the game for Marion.
The Warriors hit up and down the lineup. Nine-hole hitter Samantha Davies had the best performance in game one, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
“We’ve worked hard on increasing offensive opportunities,” head coach Jennifer Felvus said. “We’re looking for a lot more aggressive hitting.”
In a strange twist, the Marion player who had the most impact in the game was the one player who did not hit.
First baseman Montana Percel returned for her first game after suffering an ACL tear in her left knee. The plan on Tuesday was to take it easy and only play the field. She said she missed hitting and plans to hit again when she receives a sturdier brace.
Percel said she felt soreness in her knee but it did not actively hurt. She said many of her teammates told her it was nice to have her back. Felvus said Percel had a calming presence in the field.
“She’s absolutely a huge asset at first base,” Felvus said. “She’s very skilled and very aware.”
Percel’s returning effort was just an example of Marion’s seniors — Baylee Shiplet, Andrea Nordquist, Schafers, and Chelsea Voth — have done to try to inspire the freshmen on the team. Percel said it was a point of emphasis put in place by Felvus starting in summer league games.
Percel said she has taken Kayla Kroupa under her wing. Kroupa had one of the best performances of any Marion player on Tuesday. She went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI at the plate. She pitched for Marion in the second game and went the full five innings.
She settled down after allowing three runs in the first inning. She recorded five pop fly outs in the game, goading Sedgwick hitters to go after pitches up and out of the strike zone.
The Warriors are now 4-4 overall and 4-0 in Heart of America League play. Part of the reason for a strong league start is the play of outfielders Shiplet, Voth, and Robson on defense. Felvus said she could play any one of the three players in center field.