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G-R uses small-ball to tip Spartans

June 21, 2015
TYLER STRAND - Central Iowa Press , Reinbeck Courier

GLADBROOK - The Rebels are no longer afraid to shake things up this season.

So far that decision is paying dividends.

Electing to go the small-ball route after a slow start from the plate, the Gladbrook-Reinbeck softball team rattled off four runs in the fifth inning to gain enough cushion for a 5-2 victory over rival Grundy Center in Tuesday's North Iowa Cedar League West Division contest.

Article Photos

Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s Madison White winds up from the circle in Tuesday’s North Iowa Cedar League West Division game against Grundy Center in Gladbrook. White recorded 15 strikeouts and tallied two hits from the plate in a 5-2 win for the Rebels.
Photo by Tyler Strand

Madison White fanned 15 batters in a complete-game effort, while contributing a double for one of her two hits at the dish as the Rebels (4-6, 2-5) snapped a two-game scoreless skid.

Held to two hits through the first four frames, G-R switched up its approach in the fifth and used a few well-placed bunts and some attentive base running to send 10 batters to the plate.

"We just take risks because we don't want to play it safe anymore. We're just taking risks and it's really panned out for us so far," Rebels coach Danielle Clark said.

"We just weren't quite connecting the way we wanted to and I just saw an opportunity and we took advantage. I had complete faith in the girls that they could execute the way that I wanted to and they were confident and were all fired up for tonight. They knew they needed to get it done."

Megan Swanson led off with a bunt single, Sadie Cahalan drew a walk and Haleigh Berendes used another bunt to reach on a fielder's choice to load the bases. Amber Berendes connected for an RBI single back up the middle and Hayley Weber extended the lead to 2-0 on another fielder's choice. Hanna Christopher ripped a single to centerfield to plate another run and Jordan LaBarge reached off a bunt on the ensuing at-bat as the Spartans incorrectly tried for a force at home that wasn't there. White sprayed a ball that just barely stayed inside the third-base line to cap the rally at 4-0.

G-R took advantage of two Grundy Center errors and built a big enough lead to weather the Spartans' brief surge in the sixth.

Piper Johanns strung a double down the left field line and Alyssa Mathews blooped a single into left before Josie McMartin chopped a two-out single to right to plate both. White escaped the jam by inducing a groundout from Jill Itzen and scattered six hits over seven innings with a mix of rise and drop balls and issued just one walk.

"I was just really relaxed and mentally prepared coming into this game," White said. "We were just wanting it so bad and we knew what we had to do."

Amber Berendes added some insurance with a sacrifice bunt to score Cahalan in the sixth and led G-R with a pair of RBIs, while Christopher matched White with two hits.

Kayla Mathews allowed five runs (three earned) on six hits over seven innings in the loss. The Spartans (4-8, 1-7) threatened in the fourth but came up empty. Johanns legged out a single to start things off but was thrown out at second on a steal attempt. Alyssa Mathews drove a single to centerfield and McMartin moved her to second with a two-out single up the middle but White issued one of her 15 strikeouts to end the inning unscathed.

White's dominance from the circle, along with Clark's small-ball strategy in the fifth were more than enough to get the Rebels in front for good.

"They put some pressure on us and we made a couple mistakes," Spartans coach Jeff Mathews said. "That was good base running and a good adjustment on (Clark's) part. They definitely outplayed us tonight, their pitcher pitched very well. We harp on the little things, you've got to do the little things and they did and we didn't."

Johanns, Alyssa Mathews and McMartin each had two hits to account for all of Grundy Center's offense.

"Alyssa and Josie have really hit the ball well all year and they continued," coach Mathews said. "We've just got to get people on in front of them because when we get people in front of them we score lots of runs and we only got people on a couple times. We've just got to get a couple more around them to contribute."



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