With more experience and better skills, CG-B girls now take confidence to the field
Coach Scott Soerens and his Cedar Grove-Belgium High School softball team are having more fun than ever this spring.
Now in their fifth year of the sport, the Rockets donâ€™t go into games expecting to lose. Instead, theyâ€™re planning to win â€” a product of improved skills and experience.
â€śItâ€™s definitely more fun for me. Itâ€™s still a lot of the same girls that started as far as the seniors,â€ť Soerens said.
â€śI think itâ€™s fun to see them excited that weâ€™re not just going to come in and lose. It adds a new excitement.â€ť
Although the Rockets have usually had good pitching â€” with Steph Ruppel as their ace for four years and now sophomore Kasie Feind in the role â€” improved offense has been the biggest difference in their success.
â€śI donâ€™t think there were many games where weâ€™ve had nine or 10 hits, and weâ€™re pretty much averaging that now,â€ť Soerens said.
Cedar Grove-Belgium pulled out an 8-7 win at home April 10, hanging on to edge Sheboygan Lutheran/Kohler in a Central Lakeshore Conference game.
Lutheran grabbed a 2-1 lead, but the Rockets rallied to go ahead, 8-3, and then survived a late threat.
Freshman Mandy Race relieved Feind and ended the game with one pitch. With runners on first and second and two outs, a liner to senior shortstop Kelly Hubing sealed the win.
Feind allowed seven runs on eight hits, struck out five and walked six.
â€śShe did pretty well for the first six innings and then got kind of tired,â€ť Soerens said.
At the plate, Hubing had a bases-loaded triple with a bomb to right center.
Feind was a home run short of the cycle, Kaylee Juhasz had a triple and double, and Race had two hits.
The Rockets racked up nine hits, including the trio of triples.
â€śWe hit the ball pretty well,â€ť Soerens said.
In a 14-3 road loss to Oostburg last Friday, Cedar Grove-Belgium stayed in contention until a sixth-inning collapse.
The Rockets trailed by only 6-3 before allowing eight runs, which ended the game on the 10-run mercy rule.
â€śOne of those things â€” dink after dunk and then a big hit. It was just one of those innings where thatâ€™s the way the ball bounces,â€ť Soerens said.
Feind walked eight, and the Rockets made some base running errors.
Juhasz had the teamâ€™s most impressive hit, a 310-foot home run.
â€śThatâ€™s a long hit in softball,â€ť Soerens said.
Feind was 2-for-3 and reached on an error. Race had two hits, and Paulette Salazar was 1-for-2 with a walk.
The loss left the Rockets at 2-1 overall and 1-1 in league games.
Cedar Grove-Belgium will host Howards Grove at 4:30 p.m. Thursday and play a 4 p.m. doubleheader at Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah on Friday.
On April 24, the Rockets will play a 4:30 p.m. road game against Sheboygan Lutheran/Kohler.
Image Information: KASIE FIEND delivered a pitch for the Cedar Grove-Belgium softball team during its Central Lakeshore Conference win over Sheboygan Lutheran/Kohler. Photo by Sam Arendt