Difficult competition tough on Panthers
The Norfolk High softball team is finding the going tough against tough teams.
“I did the combined records of the teams we’ve played, and they’re like 42-11,” Norfolk coach Derek Siedschlag said. “I keep telling our girls that playing these teams is only going to make them better in the long run.”
The latest opponent, Lincoln North Star, improved to 10-1 on the season by defeating the Panthers 6-3 and 9-1 in doubleheader action Tuesday evening in Norfolk.
“They’re a solid team,” Siedschlag said. “They’ve got good pitching, and they make the plays. They put the ball in play; that first game we left 10 runners on base, and they’re getting the big base hits when they need them.”
In game one, it took the Navigators three innings to get their offense going. Meanwhile, the Panthers scored three runs — two of them on Sydney Rahder’s first-inning two-run homer to left — for the lead entering the top of the fourth.
But two Norfolk errors, a hit-batsman, and a walk provided North Star with an opportunity for runs. Halie Gibson (two-RBI single) and Carly Dembowski (RBI single) did their part to help the Navigators capitalize with a four-run inning and 4-3 lead.
“We’ve had some leads; we get up early. Then we have a bad inning — like the fourth inning — and give up four or five runs,” Siedschlag said. “Then we can’t recover.”
Hanna Roth’s home run to centerfield added another run in the top of the fifth, while Patia Wolfe scored on a Norfolk fielding error after doubling to left to open the sixth to finish off North Star’s 6-3 come-from-behind win.
Another feature of the Navigators’ offense was the use of the stolen base. North Star stole four in the first game, then added another 10 in game two to repeatedly move baserunners into scoring position.
Norfolk accumulated 10 hits, with Rahder — who took the pitching loss — going 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the Panthers in hitting.
In the second game, two runs on four hits in the third inning led to a 2-0 North Star lead, before a five-run fourth by the Navigators built a 7-0 lead.
Gibson’s two-run home run in the fifth, increasing the North Star lead to 9-0, triggered the eight-run rule after five innings. That’s when the Panthers were able to manage a single run in the bottom half of the inning as Natalia Linn — who reached on a fielding error — scored on a second Navigators’ error for the 9-1 final score.
North Star totaled 12 hits in the second game, including three hits by Dembowski and four extra-base hits, while the Panthers finished with just three total hits against Roth. Paeton Coler took the pitching loss for Norfolk, which slipped to 2-9 on the season.
“We’re just emphasizing staying positive — staying the course,” Siedschlag said. “That’s all we can do right now.”
Lincoln North Star 0 0 0 4 1 1 0 — 6 8 1
Norfolk 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 — 3 10 3
WP: Janessa Chadd. LP: Sydney Rahder. 2B: (N) Bailey Rucker; (NS) Patia Wolfe. HR: (N) Rahder; (NS) Hanna Roth.
Lincoln North Star 0 0 2 5 2 — 9 12 2
Norfolk 0 0 0 0 1 — 1 3 2
WP: Hanna Roth. LP: Paeton Coler. 2B: (NS) Carly Dembowski, Roth, Maya Anthens. HR: (NS) Halie Gibson.