Aggressiveness, defense key wins
The De Soto softball team evened its record, then took a step into the black Tuesday.
Beating Central Heights 11-7 and 8-0 in a doubleheader sweep, the Wildcats improved their record to 3-2, pushing into positive territory for the first time since they won their season opener against Wellsville.
"We finally just made routine defensive plays," De Soto coach Kelly Dennis said. "We didn't have to make the great plays. We just made routine plays. In the second game we really did that."
The defense was so solid in the second game Jessica Pennington picked up her first shutout of the season. Striking out just three in the game, Pennington relied on her defense while ensuring she never allowed a runner on when it mattered the most.
Her only serious trouble came in the game's first inning. After getting the first two batters out, Pennington allowed three-straight runners to reach. The Cats escaped, however, and only two more Vikings reached base in the remaining six innings.
"We made routine plays behind her and she played great," Dennis said of Pennington. "She threw better as the night went on. That second game was probably her best game of the year."
Offensively, the Cats were at least as productive as they've been all season and they played their most consistent games since they opened their season.
Lauren Burford picked up three RBIs in the first three innings of the second game as De Soto jumped to a 4-0 lead.
Timely hitting proved key in the first game as well.
Kira Gonzalez drove in two runs and six consecutive Wildcats scored in the second inning.
Central Heights tied it, scoring three in the first and three more in the second, but the Cats opened it up, taking the lead with one in the fourth and securing the game with three in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Burford and Brittany Wright each picked up RBIs.
"We actually looked kind of aggressive, which is what we're trying to do," Dennis said. "Even if we make mistakes, we want to be aggressive. It was a good night for us."
The Cats lost earlier in the week, falling to Ottawa 15-0 in five innings, but Dennis said the teams spirits are high after the sweep. That's good, she pointed out, because the road ahead gets tough fast.
The team hosts Osawatomie Friday before traveling to Baldwin Tuesday.
"We'll take it. We knew we probably needed to get our confidence up and play well against these guys to give us some momentum going into the rest of the year," Dennis said. "It gets steadily harder from now on as we go."