Panthers softball team sweeps Fremont
The Norfolk High softball team opened the 2018 season by losing 15 of its first 22 games against competition that Panthers coach Derek Siedschlag described as “brutal.”
Now, after six-straight wins--including five shut-outs--and two wins by scores of 4-0 and 7-1 Thursday evening against Fremont, Siedschlag said the Panthers (now 13-15) will find out this weekend how they stack up against some of the better teams in the state at the Lincoln Southeast Invitational tournament.
“The first game we have Lincoln North Star — I think they’re like No. 5 in the state (Class A); then we play Papillion-LaVista — they’re undefeated (21-0) and No. 1 in the state; and the third game we play Elkhorn — they’re probably No. 3 in Class B,” Siedschlag said. “So early in the week we said we wanted to take care of business on Tuesday (Lincoln East) and Thursday (Fremont), and then have a test on Saturday.”
But Siedschlag also likes the way his team is playing and believes the Panthers’ confidence is high.
“We’ve given up one run in the last six games; our pitching has been good, and we’re hitting the ball,” he said. “When you put the ball in play good things happen.”
In the first game against Fremont, Norfolk turned a base-on-balls and error by the Tigers into three runs as Natalia Linn’s RBI-single scored Makenna Waldow and Payten Magnussen’s base hit drove in both Sydney Rader and Linn.
The Panthers got their other run in the third when Rader reached on another Fremont error and scored on Emma Armbruster’s soft liner to left.
Rader got the pitching win, allowing three hits and striking out 11. Jewel Ashbrook took the loss for Fremont, allowing five Norfolk hits.
In game two, the Panthers’ offense provided support for pitcher Paeton Coler, totaling nine hits--including doubles by Armbruster and Coler, as well as a home run by Magnussen.
After Fremont scored its single run in the top of the first inning, Norfolk again scored to open the game, this time picking up two runs on Armbruster’s double to left field, and added a single run in the second when Vada Kruse scored from second on a Fremont fielding error in right field.
A four-run fourth closed out scoring in the 7-1 win, with Coler’s double becoming a run on a Jade Koch RBI-single before Magnussen’s homer went over the fence in left for two more runs. Bailey Rucker also scored as a pinch-runner for Jordan Robinette, who had been hit by a pitch, to finish scoring in the 7-1 win.
Rader and Koch each had two of the Panthers’ nine hits. Meanwhile, Coler allowed just four Fremont hits while striking out 13.
Carlie Neuhaus took the pitching loss for the Tigers, now 18-9 on the season.
Fremont 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 3 2
Norfolk 3 0 1 0 0 0 — 4 5 1
WP: Sydney Rader. LP: Jewel Ashbrook. 2B: (F) Mikayla Paulson.
Fremont 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 4 4
Norfolk 2 1 0 4 0 0 — 7 9 2
WP: Paeton Coler. LP: Carlie Neuhaus. 2B: (F) Annie Cooper; (N) Emma Armbruster, Coler. HR: (N) Payten Magnussen.