Augusta softball sweeps McPherson

Ethan Denton

AUGUSTA, Kansas—Teams that are scheduled to face the Augusta softball team going forward this season probably will not be able to count on the Orioles offense not showing up every time out.

In a home doubleheader, on Thursday against McPherson, Augusta easily overcame a pair of small early deficits to post a pair of blowout victories.

Game 1: Augusta 17, McPherson 2 (4 innings)

The Bullpups scored first with an RBI groundout and kept the Orioles off the board in the first inning. But that trend would quickly change.

In the bottom of the second, the Orioles got going thanks to the first of multiple defensive miscues committed by McPherson. With runners at first and second, Jenna Speere struck out swinging but reached on the dropped third strike with the late throw to first sailing into foul territory. The error allowed two runs to score and give Augusta a 2-1 lead. Kinleigh Haskell drove Speere in with a single to make it 3-1.

In the third and fourth innings, the bottom fell out for McPherson. The Orioles loaded the bases for Ashlyn Bowen who singled in the infield to bring in a run. Gracie Perez stepped to the plate and was hit on the first pitch to force in a run. Speere then lined a double down the left field line to score two for a 7-1 lead.

Augusta would add three more runs in the frame for a 10-1 lead. McPherson got one run back in the fourth but the Orioles picked up right where they left off. Perez doubled home a run and then came home on a throwing error. Payton Haskell reached on an error and then scored when a Bullpup outfielder dropped a fly ball.

“We have a good offensive team,” Augusta head coach Rhett Mallon said. “We came out and capitalized on what we were given so I’m proud of them for taking advantage of a good situation.”

Bowen singled home another run to make it 15-2, and starting pitcher Morgan Pennycuff reached on an error which scored the Orioles’ 16th run. Catcher Brooklyn Smith then delivered an RBI base hit to make it 17-2 and end the game on the 15-run mercy rule in four innings.

Pennycuff got the win in the circle, allowing just two runs on six hits. Her defense behind her was error-free while the Bullpups committed eight errors in the contest.

Game 2: Augusta 16, McPherson 3 (5 innings)

It would be understandable for a team coming off a lopsided win in the first game of a twin bill to show some complacency and maybe not start the next game with the same energy.

Well, someone forgot to tell the Orioles about that because after the Bullpups began with some momentum plating two first inning runs, Augusta quickly snuffed any hope McPherson might have had by scoring twelve runs in the bottom of the first.

“I told the girls, they’re probably not going to come out and make seven errors in the second game,” Mallon said. “So, to be ready, get refocused. They did a good job of doing that, got re-energized in between games, came out and capitalized.”

The trouble for Mac began immediately when a pair of hits and walk loaded the bases with nobody out for Augusta. Bowen singled and Pennycuff reached on a fielder’s choice to tie the game at 2-2. Smith put the Orioles in front with an RBI single.

Speere walked to force in a run and then catcher Allie Timberlake doubled home two runs for a 6-2 lead. Payton Haskell drove in two with a single. When the dust finally cleared after Smith’s two-run single in her second at-bat of the inning, Augusta had sent 16 batters to the plate and had taken a 12-2 lead.

In the second inning, Jadyn Jackson came through with a two-run single and in the fourth, Kinleigh Haskell drove in a run with a triple to right center and then scored on a wild pitch to complete the scoring.

Keelynn Barnett worked around traffic to hold the Bullpups to three runs on seven hits and earn the win in the circle.

It’s two more impressive wins, but Mallon is eager to keep his group focused for what lies ahead.

“We’re going to keep seeing teams that are going to challenge us,” Mallon said. “It’s what happens when you have the program that we have, so every time someone shows up they’re going to want to challenge us and we just have to be mentally prepared to take those challenges on.”

Game 1: Augusta 17, McPherson 2 (4)

McPherson      1 0 0 1 – 2 6 8

Augusta           0 3 7 7 – 17 13 0

WP – Pennycuff. LP – Herrera.

Game 2: Augusta 16, McPherson 3 (5)

McPherson      2 0 0 1 0 – 3 7 4

Augusta           (12)2 0 2 x – 16 13 1

WP – Barnett. LP – Doile.