|Posted March 1, 2008|
Pack ends series on high note, splits Saturday with Chadron
Saturday, the Pack saw roadblocks in all the major facets of the game - pitching, hitting and fielding. But the ThunderWolves did what good teams do - win anyway.
The ThunderWolves bounced back from a disappointing 5-2 loss to open the day to come back and will themselves to a 5-3 victory over Chadron State. The day's split finished out a series that saw the Pack take 3-of-4 from the Eagles.
The Pack took strides to not let something that afflicted them early in the season - letting a few bad plays mushroom into a big inning - from getting them down Saturday.
After pitcher had Kelsey Swanberg had an uncharacteristic tough day, allowing five earned runs in the day's opening game, more earned runs than she had allowed in the previous three games combined, she still maintained control. After giving up the five runs, she held the Eagles to just one hit in the final two innings and gave the Pack a chance to pull out a come back.
But that comeback didn't come because of the lack of consistent hitting. The ThunderWolves only got hits from four players, combining to get eight hits off of Chadron starter, Casey Williams. But as was the theme of the day, the Pack hitters didn't let that get them down.
In game two, the ThunderWolves put together eight hits in way more timely fashion, and drew a total of seven walks. They used that to manufacture runs in a classic, workmanlike fashion, sending at least one run across the plate in four of six innings.
The best example of the Pack's run production came in the third inning, when the Pack logged two hits, two walks and a stolen base to send two runners across the plate in the inning.
Even more timely than their hitting was the Pack's knack to make big plays both in the pitcher's circle and in the field.
In a nearly disastrous fourth inning, where an error and three hits allowed the Eagles to cut the Pack's 3-0 lead to 3-2 with just one out, the Pack circled the wagons and got a huge play. With the bases loaded, pitcher Amber Higby came in to diffuse the situation, and promptly got a double play ball on a sharply hit ball to third baseman, Katie Johnson, who executed a 5-3 double play to get the Pack out of the inning.
"We made some great defensive plays out there today, and our fielding was real solid," Pack coach Shane Showalter said. "All of our (five) errors were on flubs, and they weren't costly, but we made the plays we had to make, especially that double play ball to Katie."
The Pack emerges from the weekend series happy, reaching their goal of winning the series and resurrecting their conference record, which was 0-2 coming in and now sits at 3-3.
"It's unrealistic to think you can go into every series getting a sweep, but I'm happy with how this series turned out because we reached our goal," Showalter said. "With our roster all banged up, and our pitching staff probably only at 65 percent of its health, I was pleasantly surprised with how we played this weekend - especially the way we did it. We just played down and dirty softball, and it will be exciting once we're all healthy and clicking even better."
The Pack will take to the road next weekend as they take on Regis for a four-game conference series. The Pack has split with Regis in two meetings so far this season.