Morgan Kirk needed an inning or so to get acclimated to her new position.
Kirk, who took over at shortstop for Augusta's softball team, and the rest of the Orioles had a hiccup early against the Circle Thunderbirds in Tuesday's doubleheader.
But Kirk had support from her teammates, and as the games wore on, she started showing why she has potential to be a great shortstop. The pitching and defense picked up their play, and the Orioles stayed hot offensively as they got two run-rule wins to sweep Circle. Augusta won 15-5 in Game 1 and 16-6 in Game 2 to improve its record to 8-0.
Kirk was 2-for-3 with two walks in the opener. She had a walk-off RBI single in the fifth to clinch the win for the Orioles. She handled a groundout that came her way in the third with ease. Kirk also showed her great reflexes by catching a ball that popped out of Abby Tipton's glove on a short pop-up near second base.
"I was a little nervous at first, but Destiny [Williams] always told me 'Relax, you go it.' She always was there to support me no matter what. I really appreciated that," Kirk said.
Brooke Eberhardt allowed eight hits and two earned runs with four strikeouts. Circle's speedy runners put the Orioles' defense to the test with several bunts. A couple of them worked for base hits, but the Orioles quickly put a stop to that.
"I think our rotation was good. We were able to get on them. I think they surprised us a little bit at first, but for the most part, after the one throwing error we had, they couldn't do it again,' coach Shane Steinkamp said about how Augusta handled bunts. "Katy Nordman did a great job coming off the corner. So did Madie Becker."
Circle again jumped out to a first-inning lead in Game 2 after Jacy Gibbs rocked a three-run homer. Taylor Adlesperger later hit a two-run homer. Circle finished with eight hits.
"We're shaky on the mound right now. It's just being crisp and making decisions, where we're hitting our spots. It's just mechanical right now," Steinkamp said. "Once they get through the mechanical part of it, then it's that mental aspect...After that, both kids started to settle down and make some pitches."
But the Orioles more than matched Circle's offense. Augusta batted around the order and had a seven-run second. Later, Kylie Wesbrooks crushed a grand slam in the third.
"It's my first ever grand slam," Wesbrooks said with a smile. "I didn't think it was going over until the blue started waving his finger. It was just a meatball."
Kirk had three more RBIs in Game 2. Nordman was 4-for-4 with a triple, double and two singles. Alie Divine walked three times. Madie Becker had two RBIs.
Page 2 of 2 - Augusta plays at Rose Hill Friday as an add-on to the schedule after Collegiate's cancellation.