Bowling Green softball took advantage of opportunities at the plate and in the field to win a come-from-behind thriller over visiting Genoa, 2-1, Friday.
After starting 0-2, the Bobcats have now won four of their last five games to get over the .500 mark at 4-3, including a 10-inning, 3-2 Northern Lakes League victory over visiting Maumee Thursday.
“I think we are headed in the right direction,” BG coach Cassie Nauman said. “I think we could make some adjustments at the plate and put the bat on the ball a little bit more and challenge other defenses, but I think we’ll make those adjustments soon.”
The Bobcats handed the Comets (3-1) their first loss of the season, and BG did it by scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth after trailing most of the game.
Off Genoa’s ace, Kaylin Shields, BG junior Samantha Trimpey led off with an 11-pitch at-bat, taking the count full, plus she fended off five foul balls, until she finally reached on a walk.
Senior Sarah Konecny, who was 2-for-3 with two stolen bases, went to the plate planning to sacrifice bunt, but she beat out the throw for a base hit as Trimpey moved to second.
Junior Makenna Oates hit a long drive to center field, and Trimpey tagged before moving to third, and then she scored sliding into home on a close play after sophomore Zoe Ziems laid down a sac bunt, tying the game at 1-1.
After junior Taylor Rothenbuhler reached on a four-pitch walk, senior Cassidy Kroggel hit a hard hit shot down the left field line, scoring Konecny for the winning run. It was quite an accomplishment off Shields, who has good velocity.
“They have a good pitcher,” Nauman said. “We definitely used the small ball to get kids on base, move them around and score those two runs. We could have done it a little bit earlier, but we got it done.”
Shields had kept the Bobcat bats at bay, striking out 10 and holding BG scoreless through five innings.
Meanwhile, BG’s defense stood out when it had to. In the second inning, after Violet Plantz reached on a base hit, Makayla Magrum hit a shot that came inches from clearing the left-center field wall, and she ended up with a double and Plantz was thrown out at third by Konecny.
BG senior pitcher Meghan Kramp proceeded to strike out the next two Genoa hitters to keep the Comets off the board.
Genoa scored its only run when Megan Valentine led off walking, advanced to third when Emerson Bickel doubled to the right-center field gap, and Valentine scored on a wild pitch.
However, in the sixth, Plantz again led off with a base hit, and Magrum belted a liner to center field, but Ziems went high to make the catch and she doubled up Plantz, who was already at second base thinking the ball was hit over Ziems’ head.
Despite a few well hit shots, Kramp struck out 14, walked three, and allowed four hits, but no earned runs in seven innings. She threw 116 pitches, including 72 strikes.
“Our pitching is definitely carrying us a little bit. Meghan stayed strong throughout that game, so it was an awesome job for her,” Nauman said.
Kramp added, “My defense definitely backed me up that last inning and we finally got our bats on the ball, which is really good. It was probably one of my better days pitching and having my team there to back me up and cheer me on helped out as well.”
Kramp said it is good to see her team turning things around after opening with two losses.
“It feels good to get out there and play and show what we can do because sometimes we feel we’re not capable of winning those games the way we have been winning them,” Kramp said.
Genoa coach Troy Susor says his team can chalk this one up to a learning experience.
“Absolutely, I think they learn something from that,” Susor said. “I just don’t want them to get down on themselves because we had every opportunity to win that game. The ball just didn’t fall our way.
“You hit the one off the top of the fence, and we’re inches away from a two-run homer, and then we end up not even scoring that inning. Then there is the hard drive into center field (caught by Ziems), and it is just one of those games, but they played solidly.”
Susor says he believes his Comets played hard, but the Bobcats played smarter. He believes that can change.
“We’re young. I’m hoping our chemistry comes together, the defense sticks together and the sticks will keep getting a little better,” Susor said.
Shields finished with 11 strikeouts, walked two, and allowed five hits and one earned run, which are usually good enough numbers to get a win, but not this time.
“Shields is tough on the mound,” Susor said. “We just have to support her a little more. It’s early, so I’m not disappointed in them at all.
“The biggest thing right now is we’re making silly plays and fundamental mistakes and not executing the way we’re supposed to do. Other than the girl who got stuck at second, she didn’t know — she thought it went over her (Ziems’) head.
“Don’t get me wrong, we all wanted to win every game, but we played well. If we came out here and played lousy and they weren’t giving it their all, it would be a different story.
“We’ve got to get a couple girls who I know can hit into hitting. They’re just not there yet, and they hit last year for me, so I know they will hit. It’s just about getting them around.”