Niles softball sweeps Berrien SpringsPublished 10:29pm Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Playing outside for just the second time this softball season, Niles looked in midseason form on offense in its doubleheader sweep Tuesday of Berrien Springs.
The Vikings totaled 26 hits in posting a 5-1 win in the opener and a 13-2 win in game two. The two games were the first of the year for Niles and Berrien Springs.
“I don’t individualize any players on our team,” said Niles coach Ryan Frontczak. “I think everybody played well. Every girl did something today to help us win this doubleheader. We’ve got five girls coming back that batted over .350 (last year).”
“I love this team. I think we’ve got something special here. If we keep working hard, good things are going to come.”
Leading the way in Niles’ offensive outburst were Hannah Porterfield and Tala Gentry. Porterfield collected six hits, including two doubles, and drove in four runs, while Gentry totaled four hits and drove in five runs. Gentry’s two-run homer in the fifth inning of game two gave Niles a 13-2 mercy-rule win.
Gentry hit over .400, while Porterfield batted over .350 last season.
The Vikings also frustrated Berrien Springs’ pitchers by being able to put down bunts for hits. Niles had five bunts singles in the doubleheader with Jordan Rank placing three bunts down for hits.
“We bunted well,” Frontczak said. “We actually played pretty good softball for it just being our second day outside.”
Viking pitchers Megan McKeel and Molly VanDeKeere didn’t relax despite getting plenty of run support. In the opener, McKeel allowed one unearned run, four hits, struck out seven and walked none. McKeel, who broke two vertebrae last year playing softball, wore a back brace for precautionary reasons. VanDeKeere gave up two unearned runs, five hits, struck out six and walked three.
“I thought they threw well,” Frontczak said about his pitchers. “We gave up a couple of walks and got down in the count, but for the second time being outside all year our pitchers did pretty good. We haven’t really scrimmaged that much. It’s nice to have two pitchers this year. Getting Megan back this year is huge for us because we really didn’t have her last year.”
Frontczak feels his team can play even better. Niles had three errors in the doubleheader, which displeased the Viking second-year coach.
“Do we have things to work on?” Frontczak asked. “Heck, yeah, we do. We didn’t make a couple of plays we should have made and we missed a couple signs. That’s my fault. I have to get them ready to play.”
Berrien 000 000 1 – 1 4 3
Niles 200 201 x – 5 10 1
Caitlyn Weaver (L, 0-1) and Yvonne Wells; Megan McKeel (W, 1-0) and Hannah Porterfield
2B: Porterfield (N)
Berrien 000 20 – 2 5 2
Niles 140 53 – 13 16 2
Caitlyn Weaver (L, 0-2) and Yvonne Wells; Molly VanDeKeere (W, 1-0) and Hannah Porterfield
2B: Porterfield (N), Courtney Ankrapp (N)
3B: Tala Gentry (N)
HR: Gentry (N)