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Balanced hitting leads Lady Knights to sweep Wapsie Valley in doubleheader

May 30, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Dysart Reporter

The Union softball team saw their season start off in W column as the Lady Knights swept NICL rival in Fairbank 19-17 and 16-4 on Wednesday, May 22 behind contributions all around from a young squad.

"I felt the kids came out hitting the ball well and we had a lot of girls out playing positions they hadn't before," coach Laurie Driscol said. "They did a very nice job with this and I'm thrilled about their effort."

The first hit of 2019 season belonged to pitcher Sarah Roberts, the sophomore always have the first run of the season as Jocelyn Gates sent her home. Gates would turn around and steal home to give the Lady Knights a 2-0 lead after the defense led Roberts denied the Lady Warriors any runs in the first inning.

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Jocelyn Gates kicked off her freshman season with a two-run home run, the first of her career. After a notable eighth grade season, Gates will be look to defensively at shortstop and at-bat for the Lady Knights in 2019.

"Sarah is such a tough kid and does a nice job of keeping that ball down," Driscol said. "We really like the consistency she brings for us."

Wapsie Valley would respond with eight runs in the bottom of the second inning as the Lady Warrior saw hits drop in the left field and took advantage of fielding errors. Striking with with five runs of their own, the Lady Knights found themselves down 9-7 three innings before a two-run homerun for Gates started off a 10-run fourth inning. This was the first career dinger for the freshman shortstop and a welcomed sign for a team which only had two homeruns in 2018.

"Everybody at different times had big hits drop for us," Driscol said. "It's hard to pick out any one individual. It was a nice distribution That homerun so fun and exciting for Jocelyn, but doesn't surprise me. This is a little shorter field than our place, but anyway you slice it this hit went over and we're happy for her."

Four runs by Wapise Valley in the bottom of the fifth inning put the Lady Knights up 17-13 before Natalie Tecklenburg and Kayla Robb each scored for 19 runs in the game. A scare came in the top of the sixth as Roberts slid her leg into second base for a steal. She'd come out and the Lady Knights put Breanna Weltzin on the mound. The Lady Warriors attempted to close the six-run gap and pull off three runs before Driscol decided to switch to Tecklenburg at pitch. The junior closed out the win by striking three out and allowing one run.

"Natalie was big for us in the final inning," Driscol said. "She can play anywhere on the field. Whether she's pitching or fielding, she helps get the job done."

The second game of the doubleheader saw Union cover up defensive mistakes and take control of the game. After putting some ice on the knee for awhile, the determined Roberts was back on the mound in the 16-4 win in six innings.

"Defensively was the perk of this second game," Driscol said. "We cut down on runners

getting on and errors, which was really nice. Other than the fact we're thrilled to start off the season with two wins, I'm happy we have tough players out there who keep working hard to improve."

Union next opened at home against Dike-New Hartford on Tuesday before traveling to Hudson on Friday, May 31.



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