Day of firsts for ’Cats

Published 11:03 pm Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Brandywine’s Madison Pellow is forced out at second during Wednesday’s Lakeland Conference doubleheader against Berrien Springs. The Bobcats swept the Shamrocks to improve to 4-1 on the season. (Daily Star Photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

It was a day of firsts for the Brandywine softball team in its Lakeland Conference opener against Berrien Springs Wednesday.

Fourth-year Bobcat coach Angela Mellott picked up her first career win over the Shamrocks as Brandywine swept the doubleheader, 7-1 and 12-0.

In game two, Brandywine senior Paige Jeffery hit her first career homer.

“I’m just happy that we played our game,” said Mellott. “We’ve been working really hard at practice the last two to three weeks.”

Success started on the pitcher’s mound for the Bobcats, who got great pitching from Brande Overholt and Mikayla Kemp.

In the opener, Overholt struck out 10 over five innings and allowed only one hit. Kemp relieved Overholt in the sixth inning and struck out two and allowed one hit.

“My pitchers really battled today,” Mellott said. “They just pitched their game. They’re mixing their pitches up. Our defense has also really been stepping up. We want our pitchers to throw strikes and let our defense work.”

Brandywine had a big edge when it came to defensive play on Wednesday as the Bobcats committed only two errors in the doubleheader, while the Shamrocks totaled 14 errors. Brandywine scored four unearned runs off of seven Berrien Springs errors in the opener.

In game one, Brandywine scored in any every inning but the sixth. The Bobcats biggest inning was the fourth as the hosts totaled three runs with Madison Pellow cracking a two-run triple and Justine Sater adding an RBI single. Pellow had two hits in the opener and Sater drove in two runs.

In game two, Brandywine got more solid pitching from Kemp and scored eight unearned runs off of seven Shamrock errors. Kemp pitched a two-hitter and struck out six over five innings.

Kemp’s RBI single gave the Bobcats a 1-0 lead in the first inning and Brandywine busted the game open by scoring six runs in the second and five in the third. Jeffery hit a two-run homer and Sater added a two-run triple in the six-run second.

“There’s just a confidence,” Mellott said about her team’s hitting. “They want to hit. They’re anxious and ready to go. When (Jeffrey) keeps her hands back she can hit like that all the time. She’s got a quick swing.”

Jeffrey added an RBI triple in the third inning. Rachael Ort had an RBI single.

This could be a rough year for Berrien Springs, which has a very inexperienced varsity roster.

“We had a lot of kids not come out with six of those kids being projected as starters,” said Shamrocks coach John Reppart. “It’s a tremendous change. I thought we would have a team that would compete for the conference championship this year. But, we’re taking baby steps right now. We’ve got five girls that played in their first varsity game today.”

With the two wins on Wednesday, Brandywine matched its conference win total from last year. The Bobcats return their entire infield from last year.

“My expectation this year is that we can compete with any team,” Mellott said. “The key is not a having mental letdown in one inning like we’ve had in previous years.”

First game

Berrien Springs 001 000 0 – 1 2 7

Brandywine 111 310 x – 7 7 2

Caitlin Weaver (L, 0-1) and Jesse Forraht; Brande Overholt (W, 2-1), Mikayla Kemp (6) and Rachael Ort

2B: Weaver (BS), Makenzie Moody (BS), Overtholt (BW)

3B: Madison Pellow (BW)

Second game

Berrien Springs 000 00 – 0 2 7

Brandywine 165 0x – 12 8 0

Caitlin Weaver (L, 0-2), Charline Cuarto (3) and Jesse Forraht; Mikayla Kemp (W, 2-0) and Rachael Ort

3B: Justine Sater (BW), Paige Jeffrey (BW)

HR: Jeffrey (BW)

Varsity records: Berrien Springs 0-2, 0-2 Lakeland; Brandywine 4-1, 2-0 Lakeland