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Libby defeats Whitefish 10-0 in abbreviated 5-inning game

| April 26, 2012 12:42 PM

Powered by a masterful pitching performance by Hannah England, the Lady Loggers varsity softball team’s bats exploded early enabling them to cruise to a 10-0 victory Saturday over visiting Whitefish.

The 10-run  rule was enforced after five innings.

England, who struck out eight and walked none, displayed a reportoire of balance and control on the mound early. She fanned the first two hitters she faced and then allowed her defense to keep Whitefish’s offensive attack in check. Though England is only a freshman, coach Dean Thompson said after the contest that she might be the strongest hurler they have on this young squad. 

“She’s smart and played well, and had very good command to- day,” Thompson said. “She works hard just like her teammates. All these girls get along great. They practice hard together and have strong chemistry. Although it’s early in the season, I think we are gelling early and played real good.”

Though comprised of a slew of freshman upstarts, the Lady Loggers hitters proved early in the game that the months of practice in the batting cages could pay off dividends later as it prepares to face league rivals Polson and Columbia Falls soon. 

Capitalizing on some fielding errors committed by Whitefish, the girls jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and never looked back.That was  an element of their play that impressed Thompson. 

“ We look at this as a good win for us,” he said.  “We are still young and need to get better, but this is certainly the way we wanted to start our season. I’m happy with how hard they played.”

Shortstop Mahahal Wedel got the scoring started for the Loggers when she raced home from third after consecutive passed balls thrown by Whitefish pitcher Baylee Tveidt. Wedel walked, stole both second and third and then crossed the plate after the second ball got away.

In the second, Daylin Germany drew a lead-off walk, Brooke Rosling followed that up with a single, Devon Gallagher then reached on a fielder’s choice. Kelsi Klin  drove home all three with a triple to left- center field making the score 4-0.

 Later in the same inning, Libby padded its lead when Kim Tangen doubled in two more base runners to give the team a 7-0 cushion.

As the rain began to fall at Remp field, the Whitefish hitters withered against England who kept them off balance with an array of hard fastballs and off-speed pitches. Aided by solid infield play, Libby was able to silence the Whitefish lineup  in each of the next five innings. 

Whitefish coach Carrie Biolo said afterward that, even though her squad played hard, they just couldn’t get into a rhythm offensively and get its bats going early.

“The girls played hard, but they went up against a very good pitcher. They’re a young, but good team,” Biolo said of Thompson’s young charges.

“We have to see pitches and get on base. We have to hit and make contact, we weren’t able to do that today.”

Baylee Tveidt, the opposing pitcher, tossed strikes, but was crippled by several fielding errors committed by her teammates. A senior, Biolo said Tveidt is a strong leader with a positive attitude who just had a rough day on the mound.

“She’s been here before. It was a rough start for her, but she’s a very positive girl who will continue to work hard.”

For the youthful, talent-laden Libby squad, coaches Thompson and Ruth Fenn said they are hopeful that the win is a sign of things to come. 

“The seniors are now just rejoining the team, but this freshman class is strong,” Fenn said. We have some really solid kids coming up through the system. I could see this team with the talent we have contending for a state qualifier in a couple of years.

“They’re young and inexperienced, but they have plenty of talent.”

Thompson said the girls have been working tirelessly in the batting cages, and he said he believes those efforts will pay off soon as it prepares to embark on league play. 

“It’s a tough conference. We can’t take anybody lightly. That’s why these girls are putting in the effort daily,” Thompson said. 

With a mainly freshman lineup, Thompson said he stresses mastery of fundamentals during practice. To which he said  his players have responded well to his instruction.

 “This is a very united team, they get along well. We could be good, but we need to get better,” Thompson said.