by Eva Dean Folkert
When freshman first baseman Kaelin Callow of Plainfield, Illinois (Plainfield HS), pictured, slammed her first collegiate home run in the first inning of the Flying Dutch softball team's first game on Thursday, it portended to eleven total innings of more good things to come.
What followed for the rest of the day was Hope dominance at the plate as well as from the field and mound in Clermont, Florida. The Flying Dutch clubbed 24 total hits, while Hope four pitchers allowed only 12, and the Flying Dutch defeated Plattsburgh (N.Y.) in six innings, 17-4, and D'Youville (N.Y.) in five innings, 9-1.
After having taken a day off on Wednesday to recharge, the Flying Dutch are now 7-3.
Plattsburgh fell to 3-6 while D'Youville is 1-9.
"The off day is certainly nice on our bodies, and it gives us a chance just to step away from things for a little bit. It definitely looked like we came in today refreshed and ready to go," said head coach Mary VandeHoef. "We really did a nice job in all three phases today: our pitching is settling in, our offense got going, and we made some nice plays today, too. We're seeing some young players start to find their confidence, which is great, and our returning players are leading and doing a nice job with that."
Though Callow's three-run homer put Hope on the board first against Plattsburgh, the Cardinals scored all of their runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 4-3 lead. The Flying Dutch tied the score in the second and continued to inch ahead with four more runs over the next four innings until they got to top of the sixth. That's when Hope blew the game wide open with 10 runs, mostly courtesy of a grand slam home run by sophomore catcher Morgan Kanouse of Cadillac (Cadillac HS) — that scored Callow, Savannah Dixon and Jo Cook — and a three-run triple by senior designated player Shay Pinhey of Ann Arbor (Pioneer HS) — that scored Jordyn Diaz and Maddie Nise.
Thirteen of Hope's 17 runs were batted in by Piney (5), Kanouse (4) and Callow (4).
From the mound, freshman pitcher Chloe Haskins of Brighton (Brighton HS) earned the win by allowing only four runs, six hits (four which came in the first inning), striking out three and giving up no walks. Nise got the save.
In game two, Hope scattered nine hits. Four-run innings in the third and fourth spotted Hope an 8-1 lead. Another run in the fifth game made the Flying Dutch's lead large enough to shorten the length of the game.
"Any time you can end the game early, it's good for our pitchers, and it's good for the offense who have done their job by making adjustments, not just a second time through the lineup but at the bottom part of the lineup because we're talking and figuring out what they're doing and finding ways to produce early in games," VandeHoef added. "And any time you can put the pressure on (an opponent), it's a good thing. And we did that both times today.
The Flying Dutch was more aggressive on the base paths, stealing five times, against D'Youville. Pinhey stole two; Cook, senior Noelle Jackson of Grand Blanc (Grand Blanc HS) and freshman Janelle Baar of Byron Center (Byron Center HS) each stole one.
Baar was also the winning pitcher of record, having come in with two outs in the fourth inning to relieve Megan Soderbloom. Baar pitched an inning and a third and gave up one hit, one walk, and struck out one. Soderbloom got the start and pitched three and two-third innings in which she allowed five hit, one run and two bases on balls. She struck out two.
Hope ends their spring-break swing in Florida tomorrow, March 22, with two more games. The Flying Dutch play Wisconsin-Whitewater at 9 a.m. and Bethany (W.V) at 11:15 a.m.