The Gering softball team improved its season record to 3-2 after picking up a pair of wins over Scottsbluff in a doubleheader at the Scottsbluff High School softball fields on Tuesday night.
Gering defeated Scottsbluff 19-7 in the first game behind the arm of Mikayla Butler, while Alexa Longoria collected a 12-0 shutout-win in game two.
“Overall, I’m very proud that we were able to get two wins,” Gering coach Molly Bonuchi said. “But in that first game, our tempo was not where it needs to be and that’s not how we play. We really had barked at them in between the games and they were able to come with lots of tempo and put runs up early and do what we do.”
Isabel Wolf and Jessica Rogers combined for six hits and 10 runs batted in against the Bearcats in game one, each going 3-for-3 with five RBIs. In addition, Wolf tallied two runs scored while Rogers doubled crossed the plate four times in the contest.
Gering jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first after Rogers doubled in Isabel Thompson for the first run and scored on a fielder’s choice by Alexa Longoria to go up 2-0. Wolf came through in the next at-bat with a two-run single to drive in Brooke Doggett and Mikayla Butler, giving Gering a 4-0 advantage.
However, after a two-out double by Barbara Calvert, catcher Mikka Salazar drilled a two-run homerun over the left field fence to cut the deficit to two runs, 4-2. Gering answered in the top of the fifth with five more runs to extend the lead to 9-2 before cruising for 10 more in the final three innings to secure the win.
Butler picked up the win in the circle, surrendering seven runs on seven hits and striking out five Bearcat batters in six innings of work.
Also contributing offensively for Gering in game one was Doggett, who finished 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and three runs scored. Thompson was 1-for-3 with three runs scored, while Kaylee Bohnsack, Ciera Booker, and Butler each had a hit. Bohnsack and Butler added RBIs.
Scottsbluff was paced by Salazar and Hannah Brown, who both went 1-for-2 with two RBIs and a runs scored. Brown also finished with a triple. Calvert was also solid at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double and three runs scored. Zoey Holscher, Chloey Reifschneider, and Michelle Becker each added a hit.
Gering’s offense heated up even more in game two, showcased by a two-run homerun by Jessica Rogers in the top of the first to give the Bulldogs the early 3-0 lead after one inning of play. Gering plated seven more runs in the second, and two in the third en route to the three-inning victory.
Alexa Longoria was stellar in the circle for the Bulldogs, allowing just two hits and striking out two hitters on 33 total pitches, of which 23 were strikes.
Bonuchi praised her pitchers’ performances, noting that Butler and Longoria will get equal time in the circle this year.
“I’m going to look to go to [Longoria] as much as possible,” Bonuchi said. “She did a great job last year and she hasn’t done anything not to deserve to get an opportunity. Obviously, Mikayla has been getting the first game and she’s also doing well. I intend on them splitting games all year.”
First-year Scottsbluff coach Michael Gentry was pleased with his team’s overall effort in the losses and believes the offense is where it needs to be. However, he plans on focusing a lot on pitching as the season moves forward.
“In the first game, we were right there with them,” Gentry said. “We swung the bats real well, but obviously it starts in the circle and right now that’s what we’re trying to do. We have to find somebody who can consistently throw strikes. I’m not taking anything away from Gering, they’re a solid team, but I think if we have somebody in the circle that can throw strikes that first game, it’s a completely different ball game and I think that led into the second game.”
Gering was led offensively in game two by Booker, who went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Rogers added a 1-for-2 performance with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored. Thompson, Longoria, Wolf, Butler, and Haylee Duyck each had a hit.
Scottsbluff was paced in the second game by Calvert and Leeann Gonzales, each collecting a hit.
Scottsbluff will next be in action on Friday when it travels to Boulder, Colo., for the Boulder CreekSide Classic, which runs through Saturday.
Gering will travel to the Holdrege Invitational on Saturday.
Gering (3-2) .......... 450 127 — 19 12 5
Scottsbluff (0-4) ... 213 010 — 7 7 1
WP — Mikayla Butler, LP — Hannah Brown
2B — Barbara Calvert, Jessica Rogers, Brooke Doggett
3B — Hannah Brown
HR — Mikka Salazar
Gering .............. 372 — 12 8 1
Scottsbluff ....... 000 — 0 2 6
WP — Alexa Longoria, LP — Hannah Brown
HR — Jessica Rogers