It hasn’t happened often this season.
After Augusta’s softball team shut out Andale in Monday’s opening game 9-0, the Indians bounced back with a strong start in Game 2. They took the lead, and even though it was only a 1-0 lead, the Orioles weren’t going to start panicking for being in the rare trailing position.
“It doesn’t even phase us because we know we’re going to go on a run,” senior Kalie Robinson said.
Sure enough, the Orioles did just that. Both Robinson and Brooke Eberhardt started the third inning with two straight walks. Katy Nordman hit an RBI single and the floodgates opened for the Orioles. They batted around the lineup and took an 8-1 lead on way to an 11-1 run-rule victory.
With the win, the Orioles stay undefeated at 16-0. They clinch the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League Div. IV title and the No. 1 seed at the Circle Regional.
“I want them to think about it now. They’ve earned this,” coach Shane Steinkamp. “...They need to think about it, but they also need to realize we still got two more games on Thursday. We still want to take something into that.”
In Game 2, Morgan Kirk, Eberhardt, Nordman and Casady Marlnee all had at least two hits. Kirk also had two walks and two RBIs. Robinson had a walk and an RBI triple. Abby Tipton had a hit, a walk and two RBIs, including the game clincher on a sacrifice fly.
Even some more of the younger Orioles stepped up in key spots. Carley Phillips went 2-for-2 with an RBI in her first crack at the varsity lineup. Steinkamp said he always makes sure the underclassmen are ready to play should they get called on.
“We have every kid stepping up all the time,” Steinkamp said. “That’s what’s critical. One thing we emphasize is playing together.”
Big sister Courtney Phillips, who hit right behind Carley, drove in two runs in Game 2.
Robinson highlighted Game 1 with an inside-the-park home run, showing her wheels by getting to second as the ball bounced off the fence. She slid home in plenty of time.
As the final games approach—including a doozy with Maize South, one of the top teams in Class 5A, Thursday (weather permitting)—the team is starting to realize what all it has accomplished. A 16-0 start far and away beats the previous record to start a season (9-0). The Orioles have the top seed clinched in their Regional. But still, Steinkamp wants to keep the Orioles focused on the task at hand and not too much of the big picture.
“You could go 20-0 in Regionals, and then with a loss, you’re 20-1 and you’re not happy,” Steinkamp said. “It’s one pitch, it’s one out, it’s one inning at a time.”