CALAMUS - Over much of the past decade, scoring runs had been the biggest issue between the Midland softball program picking up coveted wins.
Monday, June 29, at Calamus-Wheatland, fans saw the Eagles bust out the big bats and score as many runs in one game as the program had, on occasion in previous seasons, turned out in a week.
But would an amazing 13-run performance be enough to get a win over the Warriors in the first game of their Tri-Rivers Conference doubleheader?
“Incredibly, no,” said Midland softball coach Zach Hebl, as his team plated six fourth-inning runs, keyed by a mammoth Taylor Bahnsen grand slam home run, but still came up short in a wild 15-13 final.
“Our bats came alive for the first time all season. Taylor’s grand slam, and it was a no-doubter, broke a string of 37 straight singles to start the season by our offense. Then we were able to get two doubles in that first game as well as a couple more doubles and even a triple in the second game. It was great seeing us get so many hits, and extra base hits, and score so many runs. The only thing we were missing was the win.”
Trailing 3-1 in the fourth frame, Bahnsen blasted her first career home run that put the visitors up 7-3, but the hosts answered immediately scoring four runs in the bottom half of the frame to knot the score at 7-7.
Midland (2-11) kept battling however, scoring four of their own in the top of the fifth and after a two-run sixth, led 13-10.
“Honestly, when Taylor hit that grand slam, I thought we were going to win that game,” Hebl said. “Shots like that are soul crushers and I thought we had Cal-Wheat on the ropes, but to their credit they came right back.”
The Warriors plated five runs in the bottom of the sixth and then held on for the mind-boggling two-run triumph in the contest that saw 28 total runs scored.
Eagle bats were amazing all game long ripping 18 hits in their 36 total at-bats led by Briana Stoll, who went 4-for-4 with a double, four RBIs and two runs scored. Kaeti Taylor-Mere added three hits and two runs scored while Bahnsen, Sophia Raubs, Brennah Ricketts, Allison Paulsen and Gracie Harrington all came through with two hits for the Midland offense.
“For most of this season it’s been our pitching that’s carried us,” Hebl said. “But at Cal-Wheat their field is a little different. The girls have to pitch a little uphill, and that was tough for our pitchers to get used to.”
The second game saw the Eagles rally from a 2-0 deficit scoring three runs (Bahnsen, Raubs and Ricketts) in the top of the third, but a three-run Warrior bottom of the fifth proved too much to overcome in what ended as a 7-4 defeat.
“This game came down to defense,” Hebl said. “We made four errors and we can’t make that many and still expect to beat teams, not yet anyway.”
Taylor-Mere had another big game at the plate going 3-for-3 with a double while Bahnsen added two more hits, one of which included a triple.
Raubs got the start in the circle and worked 5.1 frames allowing nine hits and five earned runs while striking out two. Rashelle Cole finished up tossing the final two-thirds of an inning.
The Eagles looked to get back into the win column hosting Bellevue-Marquette Thursday, July 2, and appeared well on their way leading 5-2 with two out in the top of the seventh and final inning.
“We had two outs and the bases empty and were ready to put the game away with a routine fly ball,” Hebl said. “But we didn’t make the play, and all of a sudden the floodgates opened.”
The Mohawks rallied and plated four runs with two outs to take a 6-5 lead they would not lose.
“I don’t know what to say, it all happened so quick,” Hebl said. “We had played a nearly perfect game defensively to that point, too. That was a tough one to take.”
Bahnsen tried rallying Midland in the bottom of the seventh drilling a two-out double, but was left stranded.
The second game saw Bellevue-Marquette score seven times in the second stanza rolling to an 11-2 triumph over the Eagles.
“Our defense let us down in game-two,” Hebl said. “I was proud of how we battled again though. Last year after we give up a seven-run inning, it would usually end in 4-5 innings. We made Marquette work all seven this time.”
Raubs ripped two hits at the plate and also pitched 5.1 frames allowing three earned runs while striking out six.
The week came to end with a tough 11-2 loss at Alburnett Friday, July 3.
Trailing 5-0 in the fifth, Bahnsen and Gracie Franzen each crossed the plate top get the Eagles back into the game, but the Pirates closed scoring the game’s final six runs to once again pull away.
Bahnsen was outstanding going 3-for-4 pacing a five-hit Midland offense.