HULL-Western Christian was without a few key players due to the Class 1A Region 3 soccer tournament in Denison and that fact alone may have caused a 9-6 defeat to Storm Lake in Lakes Conference softball Monday, June 5, but coach Mike De Jong was still puzzled by the defeat.
The Wolfpack took an early lead in the first inning with two runs. Chandler Schemper scored the first run on a passed ball with Brooklyn Van Oort hitting a one-run single.
The Tornadoes came right back with two in the top of the second, one in the top of the third and two in the top of the fifth for a 5-2 lead. Western Christian clawed back with two in the bottom half as Schemper scored on another passed ball and Alyssa Buren hit a one-run single, but Storm Lake scored four times in the top of the sixth for a 9-4 lead. One of those runs came on a one-run single, a two-run double and another one-run single.
The Wolfpack scored two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, but came up three runs short in the final tally. Jill Den Herder hit a solo home run in the frame with the final run coming across on a one-run single by Kayla Zevenbergen.
Coach De Jong felt his team’s effort was lacking, but could not pinpoint why that was the case.
“After looking at the stats I’m not real sure how we lost this game,” he said. “We did make a few mistakes that we haven’t done so far this season and Storm Lake took advantage of it.”
But De Jong also gave credit to the Tornadoes for playing a clean game of softball.
“Storm Lake was the better team tonight. They came ready to play and had some really good at-bats,” De Jong said.
Buren was the starting pitcher, throwing all seven innings with 11 hits, nine runs of which five were earned, seven walks and five strikeouts.
“Alyssa struggled with her control tonight. Storm Lake didn’t chase pitches out of the zone. They waited for their pitch and put the ball in play. Seven walks is too many,” De Jong said.
Schemper ended the night going 3-for-4 at the dish with three runs and a stolen base. Zevenbergen went 3-for-4 with one triple, two runs and one RBI. Buren had one hit and one RBI. Brooklyn Van Oort had one hit and one RBI. Hannah Jansma had two hits with one of those hits being a double. Den Herder went 2-for-3 with her solo home run.
“Good thing in softball we don’t get many days off. Five more games this week to fix our mistakes and get back on track. I’m confident the girls will do just that,” De Jong said.
‘Going through the motions’ costs Wolfpack a 7-0 loss
Carson Schubert I Writer
SPENCER-Spencer beat the Western Christian softball team 7-0, thanks to a six-run fifth inning on Wednesday, June 7, in Spencer.
Western Christian coach Michael De Jong said his team wasn’t ready for the game.
“We didn’t come ready to play,” said De Jong. “The girls were going through the motions.”
Janae Wynja was the leader on offense for the Wolfpack. She went 2-for-3 in the game. Chandler Schemper and Tori Wynja each had a hit with a stolen base. Brooklyn Van Oort, Kailey Heemskerk, Hannah Jansma and Sydney Stiemsma each had a hit.
“We couldn’t string together hits offensively. We had base runners every inning and weren’t able to score,” De Jong said. “Credit Spencer for making the plays defensively when they needed to.”
Alyssa Buren was in the pitcher’s circle for Western Christian. She went six innings, allowed six hits, seven runs of which six were earned, six walks and five strikeouts.
“We were lucky to stay in the game until the fifth inning,” De Jong said. “Spencer started the inning with a walk, single and then a double. Then we made multiple mental mistakes, threw the ball around and runners ended up scoring. After that the wheels fell off. Our lack of focus really came through in the fifth inning.”
De Jong said his team must manage their mistakes.
“The girls need to come ready to play every night if we want a chance to be a good softball team. Mistakes happen. We need to learn to battle through them,” he said.
Western falls to ninth-ranked Sioux Center
Nathan Broek | Sports Editor
SIOUX CENTER-The Western Christian softball team fell to Class 3A ninth-ranked Sioux Center 8-3 in a non-conference matchup in Sioux Center Thursday, June 8, as the Warriors rallied for seven runs in the late innings.
Despite solid pitching for five innings, the Wolfpack couldn’t muster enough offense.
“We lost to a very good Sioux Center team,” said Western Christian coach Michael De Jong. “Their lineup is very tough from top to bottom. Very happy with the effort from the girls tonight. We were in the game until the sixth inning. A questionable call didn’t go our way early in the inning and the wheels kind of fell off. Credit to Sioux Center for stringing together some hits that inning.”
Alyssa Buren was in the pitcher’s circle. She went six innings while allowing nine hits, eight runs of which seven were earned runs, five walks and four strikeouts. Kayla Zevenbergen came into the seventh for relief. She pitched a perfect inning in her first varsity appearance in the circle.
“I thought Alyssa pitched a great game against a very tough lineup for five innings,” De Jong said. “Tough to hold that lineup in check for a full seven innings. Happy to see Kayla Zevenbergen get a quick seventh inning for her first career varsity inning.”
Offensively, Tori Wynja went 2-for-4 including an RBI. Madison Byl and Brooklyn Van Oort each were 1-for-2 and walked once. Zevenbergen was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Hannah Jansma had an RBI and Kailey Heemskerk scored a run.
“We struggled again offensively,” De Jong said. “Good to see the girls not give up down 8-0 in the seventh inning. We fought back to get some runs and hopefully build some momentum going into the rest of the week.”
But De Jong is still waiting for the big offensive performance and his defense to have a consistent game.
“We need to keep battling offensively and one of these games our bats will break out and start to string together some hits. Defensively, we need to keep doing what we are doing and work to limit the big inning that has been occurring the last few games,” De Jong said.
Wolfpack manage one run in 8-1 defeat
SPIRIT LAKE-Once again Western Christian could not get any offense going and the cold bats affected the Wolfpack’s ability to play good defense in an 8-1 Lakes Conference softball defeat to Spirit Lake Friday, June 9.
The Indians scored one run in the first inning and four in the third for a 5-0 lead. Western Christian tallied its run in the top of the fourth off an RBI single from Brooklyn Van Oort that scored Alyssa Buren. But Spirit Lake scored three in the bottom half to put the game away.
“Mental mistakes really hurt us in the third and fourth innings, which led to the game getting away from us,” said Wolfpack coach Michael De Jong.
But most frustrating for De Jong was the continued lack of offense. In addition to the RBI single from Van Oort, Hannah Jansma had two hits with Janae Wynja and Madison Byl recording the final hits.
“Same story, different day,” the coach said. “We couldn’t get any offense going. We weren’t able to string together multiple hits in a row and we couldn’t get the big hit when we needed it as we left eight runners on base.”
Alyssa Buren took the pitcher’s circle and threw five innings with eight hits, eight runs of which seven were earned, two walks and two strikeouts. Kayla Zevenbergen threw the final inning in relief with no hits, no runs, no walks and two strikeouts.
“Alyssa threw well. She missed her spots a few times and a good hitting lineup like Spirit Lake’s made her pay for it. Kayla Zevenbergen gave us one solid inning to close out the game,” De Jong said.
Wolfpack grab one victory at West Lyon tournament
LARCHWOOD-Mistakes similar to those made in the Spirit Lake game Friday, June 9, cost Western Christian its first game at the West Lyon softball tournament Saturday, June 10, but the Wolfpack’s offense propelled them in their final game to earn a 1-1 split and a third-place finish.
The first game of the day proved to be a tough one in for Western Christian as it had to take on Class 1A sixth-ranked West Sioux. But the Wolfpack had a good start to this game with three runs in the second inning, one in the third and one in the fourth for a 6-0 lead.
“We got off to a good start offensively. We’re starting to see the bats come to life,” said Western Christian coach Michael De Jong. “Gracie Dykstra got the scoring going in the second with a two RBI single. I’m excited for Gracie. She plays mostly JV, but had to fill in for varsity today due to girls taking their ACT tests.”
But Western Christian lost its focus a little bit on the field and the Falcons took advantage, scoring five in the bottom of the fourth, three in the bottom of the fifth and four in the bottom of the sixth for a 12-5 advantage.
“As a team we made a few mental mistakes and West Sioux capitalized. West Sioux is a very well-coached team and if you give them extra outs they will make you pay for it, and they did just that in the middle innings,” De Jong said.
The Wolfpack tried a comeback in the top of the fifth, but only managed two runs. That said De Jong was pleased to see the fight in his team.
“Proud of the girls to fight back and get a few more runs in the seventh inning,” he said.
Janae Wynja finished the first game with a double, one run and one RBI at the plate. Hannah Jansma had one hit and two runs. Madison Byl had two hits with one hit being a double, one run and two RBIs. Dykstra had her one two-run single. Chandler Schemper had an RBI that was scored off an error. Alyssa Buren had one hit and one run. Brooklyn Van Oort and Kayla Zevenbergen each scored once.
Buren was in the pitcher’s circle and went the distance with 10 hits, 12 runs of which 10 were earned, two walks and four strikeouts.
“Alyssa threw well for the first three innings. She started missing her spots in the middle innings and West Sioux started to make her pay,” De Jong said.
The defeat sent Western Christian into the third-place game with Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn and a quick start on offense ended in a 9-4 victory.
The Wolfpack got on the board right away with six runs in the first inning with two of those runs coming on a two-run home run by Buren. Schemper, Jansma and Zevenbergen also had one-run singles in the frame.
“We got off to another solid start offensively, scoring six runs in the first inning. H-M-S did commit a couple errors, but I was happy to see the girls starting to hit the balls hard,” De Jong said.
The Hawks countered with three runs in the bottom of the third, but Western Christian put the game out of reach with three runs in the top of the fifth. Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn scored one in the bottom of the seventh to account for the final score.
Schemper finished game two going 3-for-5 at the plate with one run, one RBI and a stolen base. Tori Wynja had one hit, one run and a steal. Buren had one hit, that being her two-run home run. Wynja had two hits and one run. Jansma had two hits, one run and one RBI. Byl had one hit and one run. Dykstra scored twice and Zevenbergen had one hit and two RBIs.
“We finished the game with 13 hits. Nine different players got a hit. We had a few more well-hit balls that H-M-S made good plays on. A highlight of the offense was Alyssa Buren getting her first home run of the season as well,” De Jong said. “Overall, a pretty good day offensively, considering the really windy conditions we had to deal with (25-plus-mile-per-hour winds from the southwest).”
Zevenbergen was in the pitcher’s circle for the third-place game, going the distance with four hits, four runs of which only one was earned, three walks and three strikeouts. In the end, De Jong felt his team had a good tournament.
“Overall, a good day for the girls. I felt we kind of let the West Sioux game get away from us with mental mistakes. Credit to West Sioux for capitalizing and making us pay,” he said. “I was proud of the way the girls came back and got things going right away against H-M-S. They didn’t let the West Sioux game affect them.”