Hickman pitcher Stefani Worley has learned to appreciate a victory because they haven’t been coming too often.
Hickman entered Tuesday night’s game against Rock Bridge with a 1-10 record, but after a strong offensive outburst, doubled its season win total with a 6-4 victory at Rock Bridge Field.
After recording only one hit, Worley finished the game with three RBIs, including two in the top of the first inning.
“We went into the batter’s box with confidence,” Worley said. “We finally hit the ball well and we played well as a team.”
The Kewpies also capitalized on three Rock Bridge errors.
Worley was equally impressive on the mound. In seven innings, she gave up four runs – one earned — and worked her way out of multiple jams in a game marked by shaky defense.
“The whole time I felt like all of my pitches were working,” Worley said. “I had confidence out there. The shots that I gave up didn’t hurt the team too bad. I gave up some hits, some at good times, some at bad times, but we were able to work out of it.”
The Kewpies jumped to an early lead in the first when Rock Bridge rightfielder Crystal Chapin misplayed a flyball, allowing Shana White and Jennifer Bieberly to score.
In the third, with the score 2-1, Hickman added two more runs. After Lindsey Rock led off the inning with a single, Rock Bridge coach Jennifer Mast brought in Kayal Turnbull to pitch, replacing Kelsey Oerly. The first batter she faced, though, singled, scoring Rock from third. Two batters later, Worley reached on an error, adding another run, and giving Hickman a 4-1 advantage.
“I thought we did a great job,” Hickman coach Courtney Haskell said. “We were aggressive on the base path. We were patient but aggressive at the plate. We swung at good pitches. We were very disciplined tonight.”
Turnbull, who started at first base, battled a blister on her pitching hand that kept her off the mound for most of the week.
“(My blister) is a lot better now,” Turnbull said. “It’s just not pitching for awhile. I haven’t pitched since last Friday, and that probably played into my performance a little bit.”
Although Rock Bridge was able to work its way back into the game with a steady stream of runs, Hickman’s lineup proved too difficult for the Bruins.
“It’s a disappointment,” Mast said. “Usually if you can play like that, scoring close to a run an inning, you’re going to have a pretty good chance to win.
“We executed offensively. We executed defensively, but it goes back to free passes. I think we gave them 10 free runners. And when you do that, it puts an enormous amount of pressure on the team.”
Hickman survived a scare in the seventh when Emily Lay doubled off the centerfield wall, bringing the tying run to the plate. But Worley retired the next two batters, giving Hickman the win and a confidence boost going into Monday’s game against New Franklin.
“Honestly, I felt like we won every inning,” Haskell said. “The kids played great defense. Even when we had errors, and there was an inning when we had a couple, even when we had those, we got out of it. When we play like that, it doesn’t matter if we have runners on, they’re not going to score.”