ABILENE—The Abilene Cowgirl softball team opened its 2012 season Tuesday afternoon with a sweep of the visiting Lady Trojans of Southeast of Saline High School.
While it was a sweep the two games were played out in completely different fashions. In both games Abilene’s Alisse Murray was the star.
The Cowgirls opened the day in convincing fashion, scoring an 11-1 run-rule victory over Southeast in five innings. The second game, however, Southeast’s offensive attack came to life and Murray drove in the game-winning run with no outs in the bottom of the seventh for a 13-12 win to complete the sweep for Abilene.
"We were hoping to (open the season with a sweep)," Abilene coach Don Nebelsick said. "It finally worked out but they made us work for it. They have some good athletes too, that is one of the best pitchers we will face this year."
In the opener Southeast jumped out quickly to a 1-0 lead when Kristina Conley reached on a two-out walk. Conley was Southeast’s pitcher and Calli Callahan was her courtesy runner. Callahan moved to second and third on passed balls and scored when Hannah Mortimer hit a two-out single up the middle.
The lead for Southeast was short lived, however, as the Cowgirls came back with two runs in the bottom of the first to take a lead Abilene did not relinquish.
Abilene scored two more in the third, batted around and scored six in the fourth to go in front 10-1.
The Cowgirls needed just one run in the bottom of the fifth to win by 10-run rule and Karina Anderson, who was 2-for-3 in the game, led off with a single. Anderson moved to second on a wild pitch and after Murray walked Anderson was driven in by Allyne Clark’s double to right-centerfield to finish the game.
"Alisse is a seasoned player," Nebelsick said. "For her to go through what she has gone through, with her injury, and to even come back and throw like she does to me is amazing."
Michaela Olberding was 2-for-3 with a double, triple and three RBI in the opener for Abilene, Murray was 3-for-3 at the plate with three runs scored and Aldyn Wildey was 2-for-3.
Abilene kept the offensive attack going in the nightcap, but the Lady Trojan bats woke up in the second game, creating a back-and-forth battle.
Wildey pitched for Abilene and outside of two different innings shut Southeast down. But those two innings, the second and the sixth innings, saw Southeast bat around and score six runs in each inning. In the sixth Nebelsick replaced Wildey with Murray on the mound, but Murray was unable to regain her form from the first game and walked two batters before being replaced by Wildey.
The Cowgirls, meanwhile, kept their offensive attack going in almost all seven innings. Abilene scored single runs in the first and second innings, six in the third to retake an 8-6 lead, two in the fourth, a single run in the fifth before being held scoreless in the sixth.
In the top of the sixth Southeast had plated its six run attack and had a 12-11 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning.
Kiley Crider, who was 3-for-4 in the second game for Abilene, led off the seventh with a single and scored on a triple by Anderson to tie the game 12-12 with nobody out.
Murray, who already had two hits in the nightcap, came to the plate with Anderson being just 90 feet from home with the winning run.
Murray took a couple of pitches to get adjusted and then lined a single to right-centerfield, driving in Anderson with the game winner.
"Our seniors stepped up that last inning," Nebelsick said. "I was never worried, we weren’t going to quit until the game is over. I was worried, but not totally like ‘oh, crap we are going to get beat,’ that thought never entered my mind.
"We had right where we wanted to be in the batting order when we came up the last time around and things just worked out for us. … It all worked."