The Chapman High School Lady Irish softball team traveled West Tuesday afternoon for its annual Dickinson County rivalry showdown with Abilene for a North Central Kansas League doubleheader.
With all doubleheaders there were two games played. But Tuesday’s doubleheader between Abilene and Chapman the two games were almost as different as two games between the same teams could be.
Chapman came out offensively in the opener and rolled to a 10-0 victory that went the entire seven innings.
The Cowgirls’ bats, however, came to life in the second game as they pounded out 13 runs and held off a late Lady Irish rally to earn the doubleheader split with a 13-11 victory in the nightcap.
“We did not show up to play in the first game,” Abilene coach LouAnn Koochel said. “We gave them a game. We gave them a win. I think there were at least two, three earned runs that they had.
“The second game we came out and started hitting well, but Jenna started getting hit too. We had to fight out of some tough situations.”
The Lady Irish did not waste time in jumping out to a lead in the opening game. Chapman’s Dayan Weis led off the first game with a double to left-center and came around to score two batters later when Macey Langvardt drove a pitch over the left-centerfield fence for a 2-0 home run and the early lead.
The Cowgirls, meanwhile, also led off their half of the first inning with a hit, but Sydney Hocker only led off Abilene’s first plate appearance with a single and she was left standing at first when the inning ended three batters later.
After Hocker’s lead off single, Chapman starting pitcher Morgan Beemer got Abilene batters out 12 straight times.
The Lady Irish, meanwhile, got their offensive back in order after being held scoreless in the top of the second, Chapman sent 10 batters to the plate in the top of the third, scoring 6 runs on 6 hits and one Abilene error to push the Chapman lead to 8-0.
“We didn’t hit,” Koochel said. “We would have lost the game 3-0 if we would have played defense. It was ugly.”
The Lady Irish plated another single run in the top of the fourth, but were unable to plate another run until the top of the seventh. Meanwhile, Beemer kept Abilene’s offense in check as she pitched the entire game, allowing just three Abilene hits and her defense committed just one error.
The nightcap of the doubleheader began completely differently as in the second game Abilene’s bats woke up and they almost run-ruled the Lady Irish after dodging a run-rule in the opener.
The Cowgirls kept Chapman off the scoreboard in the top of the first inning and then proceeded to bat around in the bottom of the first, scoring 5 runs on just 2 hits, two Chapman errors and a pair of walks by Chapman pitcher Abby Sweet.
Abilene pushed its lead to 8-0 in the second inning when Cowgirl pitcher Jenna Klein shut down the Lady Irish in order in the top of the inning and Abilene proceeded to send eight batters to the plate in the bottom of the second, scoring 3 runs on just one hit. In the bottom of the second Sweet gave up a single to Hocker to start the inning then walked Sarah Stout which prompted Lady Irish coach Jeff Beemer to remove Sweet off the mound and put Morgan Beemer back on the hill.
The Lady Irish then broke their bats loose in the top of the third as they scored 4 runs on five hits, cutting Abilene’s lead to 8-4.
The 4 runs Chapman scored in the top of the third proved key as Abilene finally got to Beemer on the mound in the bottom of the third, scoring 5 runs on 5 hits and 2 Chapman errors. But those five runs came up just one shy of the 10-run rule.
Both teams were scoreless in the fifth before the Lady Irish plated a single run in the top of the fifth.
Coach Beemer put Sweet back on the mound to open the fourth inning and she held Abilene scoreless for the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Chapman, meanwhile, plated two more runs in the top of the sixth, cutting Abilene’s lead to 13-5 and then scored 4 runs in the top of the seventh as Chapman loaded the bases with just one out, but Klein, who had four walks in the seventh, settled back down and got the Lady Irish out of the inning, sealing the Abilene victory with the potential game-tying runs on the bases.
“It was very tense,” Koochel said. “Jenna lost the strike zone for a while. You can’t walk batters in those situations. Chapman is a lot better than their record shows.”