Spring Grove scores 13 first-inning runs, snaps three-game skid
What cures the ailments of a three-game losing streak?
How about 13 first-inning runs?
That's the method Spring Grove used Wednesday as the Rockets defeated Red Lion, 17-4, in five innings, snapping a three-game skid.
"It is a great feeling to come out here and hit the ball," Spring Grove manager Mark Hull said. "That's what I wanted to see."
The Rockets overwhelmed the Lions (0-6, 0-8 Div. I) during a 35-minute first inning in which the Rockets sent 13 batters to the plate and scored 10 runs before recording an out. Spring Grove (3-5, 3-5) had seven batters reach base on hits, three were hit by pitches, three reached on walks, and two on Red Lion errors. The Rockets batted around twice before Red Lion could get them off the field, but the damage had been done.
"We are a hitting team normally," Hull said. "Sometimes we just make some mistakes that cost us. Tonight, we got a good lead and kept going, and we did a really good job of adjusting from one pitcher to the other."
Red Lion was the first team to cross the plate when Megan Teal, who finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs, laced a double to deep center that scored Hailey Inguanti. Teal later scored on an error, and it was 2-0 Lions before Spring Grove came to the plate.
But then the Rockets' fireworks began. Spring Grove's first five hitters reached on errors, walks, or were hit by pitches. Then, Amy Senft, Kira Hull and Lydia Harris hit back-to-back-to-back singles, and it was 6-2 in favor of the home team.
"Coming in down 2-0 in the first inning, that's what I wanted to see," Hull said. "I wanted to see them come in and pick each other. Sometimes we have problems getting down and letting the problems snowball. But tonight, they were encouraging each other."
Hull and Harris — the No. 7 and 8 hitters in Spring Grove's lineup — combined to go 5-for-6 with six RBIs. Four of those hits and four RBIs came in the first inning.
"Our 7-8-9 hitters have been doing well for us." Hull said. "I'm very confident in this whole lineup."
After two more walks and another hit batter, Hayley Norton belted a two-run single to make it 10-0. Red Lion manager Troy Eveler pulled starter Taylor Dewees after 2/3 of an inning.
There was good news for the visiting team, however. The Lions' four-run output marked the first time since a 17-13 loss to New Oxford that they scored more than one run in a game. Teal had another RBI double in the third to cut the lead to 13-3, and Dewees knocked in a run in the fifth before the game ended with a mercy rule.
While the Rockets' offense lit up the scoreboard, sophomore Julia Wivell pitched a five-inning complete game. Wivell struck out three and gave up just five hits — three in the final four innings.
"I think I did pretty good," Wivell said. "I have to make sure my hips get turned, so I can keep my arm in and keep the ball straight."
Wivell escaped jams in the third and fourth innings, stranding four runners on base.
"When she gets into trouble, she battles back," Hull said of Wivell. "I think she's starting to learn how to deal with girls on base and how to work around that."
The win was the first for the Rockets since April 2.
"It was pretty important," Wivell said of the victory. "We want to make districts, so we need wins."
Spring Grove 17, Red Lion 4 (5)
Red Lion20101—455Spring Grove(13) 040x—17152
RL, Taylor Dewees, Megan Teal (1) and Brynn Leipart, SG, Julia Wivell and Jayne Hoover
SO-BB — RL, Dewees 1-4, Teal 4-0, SG, Wivell 3-4; W — Wivell; L — Dewees; 2B — RL 2 (Teal 2), SG, Kira Hull.