By Randy Bruns
ST. HENRY — The St. Marys Roughriders came into Thursday’s non-conference softball matchup with the St. Henry Redskins looking to turn things around after starting the season with five wins and then hitting a two-game losing skid.
When they left the wind-swept field things were back on track, as the ’Riders took full advantage of a key Redskin miscue and posted a 4-0 whitewash of the hosts.
St. Marys raised its record to 6-2 with the win while St. Henry fell to 3-2 after the defeat.
Statistically speaking, this game was as even as they come. Despite a brisk wind blowing out, both teams managed just four hits apiece and both squads were guilty of two errors. The key for the ’Riders was bunching three of their hits together in the second inning, when they scored all they would need.
Brittany Howell started the inning with a sharp single to left and found herself on third base after a bunt single by Dani Johnsman. After a stolen base and a walk to Jessica Enderud the sacks were full, and Andrea Steinberg delivered with a flare that scored Howell and kept the bases loaded.
It looked like the hosts would survive the inning with minimal damage, as Johnsman was forced at home on Liz Barton’s grounder and the next hitter struck out, but then disaster struck. Alison Anderson hit a grounder to short but the throw to first was dropped, allowing Enderud and Steinberg to cross the plate. The ’Riders tacked on their final run with a perfectly executed double steal, as Barton slid home before Anderson was tagged out at second.
“Before the game we told our kids that we were going to make mistakes and they were going to make mistakes,” said St. Marys coach Sue Grothause. “We had to take advantage of their mistakes, and in the second inning our kids did a great job of running the bases and we got our runs.”
St. Henry had a couple of chances late in the game to dent the scoreboard, but each time St. Marys hurler Jessica Enderud slammed the door. In the fifth Lindsay Thobe and Mindy Siefring started out with back-to-back singles but no more production followed. In the seventh the Redskins got two on with two out, but Enderud closed out the game with her seventh strikeout.
The Redskin hitters were behind the eight-ball most of the game, as Enderud more often than not started out with a first-pitch strike.
“We told the girls during the game that she’s a good pitcher and she wants to get ahead, which all good pitchers do,” said St. Henry coach Josh Link. “We needed to be ready for that first pitch, and the inning where we got the first two runners on we took that to heart and it worked. We’ve just got to be more aggressive at the plate.”
Both squads return to action on Saturday for double dips. St. Marys will travel to Minster for two games and St. Henry heads south for a pair with Greenville