SPRINGVILLE - Looking to get back on the winning track after dropping a pair of games at Alburnett four days earlier, Springville did exactly that sweeping a regular-season ending doubleheader hosting Calamus-Wheatland Friday, July 10.
The first game saw Savannah Nealman park a softball over the fence for a three-run home run keying a 7-4 triumph over the Warriors.
Nealman’s blast sparked a four-run fourth-inning that handed the hosts a 7-1 lead at the time.
Calamus-Wheatland plated three sixth inning runs to make it interesting, but Oriole pitcher Libby Moore was able to work out of trouble and close out the three-run victory tossing a seven-hitter at the Warriors while striking out five.
Nealman was sensational powering a 12-hit Springville offense going 3-for-4 with those three RBIs while teammate Morgan Nachazel supplied even more power going 4-for-4.
The Orioles completed the sweep in the second game rallying from a 6-1 deficit to claim a thrilling 7-6 victory.
“Finishing the season with a sweep that included a come-from-behind win has to boost the girls’ confidence as we head into the post-season,” Riley said. “The girls ran the bases very well, stayed in the game mentally and played gritty defense.
“I can’t stress enough how impressed we are with the glove work. Regardless of the position, the kids are holding singles to singles. We just don’t give up extra bases and that is so important in terms of limiting your opponent’s opportunities to score, but even more so for the confidence factor for our pitchers.”
The Orioles actually led the second game 1-0 when Nachazel scored thanks to a Molly Stamp RBI single in the bottom of the first, and the lead stood until Calamus-Wheatland scored six straight runs, keyed by a four-run fourth frame.
Springville rallied right back however, plating a single run in the fourth before a huge four-run fifth saw Ashlynne Zaruba, Grace Matus, Nealman and Nachazel all cross the plate, knotting the score at 6-6.
The hosts broke that tie one inning later when Nealman drilled a double to the centerfield fence that allowed Zaruba to score what proved to be the game-winner.
Nealman (3.2 innings) and Stamp (3.1) split duties in the pitching circle and combined to toss an eight-hitter while the two also powered the offense with Stamp going 3-for-3 while Nealman added two more hits keying a nine-hit Oriole offense.
The Orioles hoped the sweep over the Warriors would spark a long playoff run, but instead Springville was handed a stunning 10-7 loss hosting previously winless Easton Valley in a class 1A regional first-round contest Monday, July 13.
“Hats off to Easton Valley,” Riley said. “We couldn’t stop the madness in the seventh not could we answer when we batted. Libby Moore hit her second double of the night in the bottom of the seventh, but we couldn’t muster another hit.”
The Orioles led 7-4 with just three outs left to get, but the River Hawks stunned everyone in attendance by plating six runs in the seventh to claim the three-run victory, advance to the 1A quarter-final round and end Springville’s extremely successful 9-8 season with a bitter taste in their mouths.
Easton Valley started the scoring in the top of the first plating a single run before the hosts scored four straight as pinch-runner Carsyn Clothier and Stamp each crossed the plate in the second stanza before Zaruba and Nachazel both scored in the third giving the Orioles a 4-1 lead.
Springville added to their advantage in the fifth when Matus scored, but the River Hawks began chipping away in the sixth scoring three times to pull to within a run at 5-4.
Again however, the Orioles answered.
The hosts scored two in the bottom of the sixth as Nia Howard and Zaruba both walked and scored, and it appeared Springville was set leading 7-4 heading into the top of the seventh.
“In the seventh the wheels just came off,” Riley said. “Easton Valley pounded the ball and scored six runs on six hits (two doubles included) in the inning and handed us the loss.”
Springville’s final regular season road game was at Alburnett Monday, July 6, where the Orioles succumbed to 6-1 and 8-1 setbacks against a solid Pirate team.
Alburnett tallied a pair of three-run innings (in the second and fourth) in the opener while a Hannah March single in the top of the seventh scored Nia Howard and broke up the Pirate shutout bid.
The second game saw the Orioles trail just 1-0 heading into the fifth before the Alburnett offense exploded for seven runs taking an 8-0 lead.
Moore crossed the plate in the sixth for the visitors thanks to a Nealman RBI double.
“We showed our youth a bit on Monday,” Riley said. “We had some untimely errors and again left too many girls on base (five in the first game and six in the second).”