An unbeaten run through the Twin City Invitational resulted in a championship finish for the Gering softball team on Saturday in Scottsbluff.
The Bulldogs, who finished the two-day tournament with a perfect 4-0 record, topped Scottsbluff 7-4 in the title game.
“We played consistent,” Gering head coach Tim Gonzales said. “We were consistent with our pitching and our hitting came through when we needed it. I wouldn’t say we were dynamite today, but we played good solid ball. A lot of times, 80 to 90 percent of the time, that is going to win you some games.”
The Bulldogs finished the tournament unblemished after going 3-0 in pool play on Friday. Gonzales said it was a good weekend.
“I am definitely happy going 4-0 and I am ready for the week coming up,” he said.
Saturday’s championship win was highlighted by plenty of clutch hits from batters at the bottom of the Bulldogs’ lineup. Gonzales said Ashland Todd and Faith Smith both came through with big hits in critical situations.
“Ashland Todd really showed up today. Faith Smith gets in there and gets a little line drive,” he said. “Usually when our top of the lineup isn’t working, the bottom of the lineup is really activated. It worked good for us today.”
Scottsbluff ended runner-up with a 2-2 mark.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Scottsbluff head coach Michael Gentry said. “We just came up a little short. Gering outhit and outplayed us today.”
Scottsbluff plated 48 runs in its pool play games on Friday compared to 26 for Gering. But on Saturday, the Bearcats managed just four runs.
“It came down to timely hitting and Gering did a better job than us in coming up with big hits in big situations,” Gentry said. “I thought we were in a good position, but we just came up short.”
All of the scoring in the championship contest was done in the first three innings. Scottsbluff grabbed the early advantage in the bottom of the first when Brady Laucomer singled and scored on a Taylor Klein single to give the Bearcats a 1-0 lead.
Gering had an immediate answer in the top of the second. The Bulldogs plated three runs to take a lead they never relinquished the rest of the way. Hannah Splattstoesser and Ashland Todd both provided run-scoring singles for Gering in the frame.
Scottsbluff managed to get one run back in the home half of the second as Reagan Churchill scored on a Tierney Schleve groundout.
Holding just a 3-2 lead, Gering broke things open in the third by scoring four runs. Splattstoesser came through with another run-scoring hit, while Faith Smith added a pinch-hit, two-run single.
The Bearcats managed to add a pair of runs in the bottom of the third to close within 7-4, but would get no closer. Maddie Johnston’s single chased home Klein and Alex Jones to conclude the scoring.
Splattstoesser was the lone Bulldog to finish the game with multiple hits. Calista Muhr and Jessica Brown each led Gering with two runs scored.
Laucomer and Klein led Scottsbluff at the plate with two hits each. Laucomer doubled for the only extra-base hit of the contest.
Jones, Laucomer and Angelica Anaya each had a stolen base for the Bearcats.
Maddy Wiese earned the win in the circle for Gering. She allowed three earned runs on five hits, walked only one and struck out nine. Wiese went 3-0 in the tournament and is now 8-4 on the season with a whopping 94 strikeouts.
Kymber Shallenberger and Keela Peters both saw action in the circle for Scottsbluff. Shallenberger allowed five hits and struck out two in two innings of work. Peters struck out three in three scoreless and hitless innings of relief.
In Saturday’s other tournament action, Gothenburg beat Alliance 13-0 to place third. Sterling, Colorado, topped Chadron 7-2 in the fifth-place game, and Chase County beat Burlington, Colorado, 15-3 for seventh place.
A number of local players were named to the all-tournament team. Gering’s selections were Wiese, Muhr, Kiana Island, and Brylee Dean. Scottsbluff’s selections included Klein, Laucomer, and Sasha Paez. Also earning all-tournament honors were Alliance’s Aubrey Garrett and Jaycee Acosta, along with Chadron’s Kennady Stack.
Gering (10-5) 034 00 — 7 5 0
Scottsbluff (5-5) 112 00 — 4 6 2
WP - Maddy Wiese. LP - Kymber Shallenberger.
2B - Scottsbluff (Brady Laucomer).
Gothenburg 382 – 13 13 0
Alliance 000 – 0 3 1
LP – Jaycee Acosta
2B – Alliance (Aubrey Garrett).
Sterling 001 042 0 – 7 13 2
Chadron 000 020 0 – 2 5 0
LP – Bristyn Cummings
2B – Chadron (Kennady Stack)