The Garner-Hayfield/Ventura softball team started post-season play on an upswing when they faced Clear Lake (4-23) on Tuesday, July 15, to open the Class 3A Regional Tournament.
This wasn’t the first time the Cardinals and Lions have faced each other. The first time they met, GHV pounded the Lions in a 13-1 victory. This time around however, the Cardinals faced a much improved Clear Lake team.
“Playoff games are always fun. We knew Clear Lake was playing better softball than the first time we played them,” said GHV Coach Christi Weiser. “Their pitcher did a great job of throwing strikes and kept us off balance early in the game and defensively we struggled to settle in.”
Clear Lake came out ready to play and jumped to a 4-1 lead after the first two innings. GHV powered back, driving in two runs in the third inning and one more in the fifth to knot the score at 4-4. The bats were hot in the sixth inning with GHV scoring three runs and Clear Lake two, giving GHV a 7-6 lead. The Cardinals went on to score two more runs in the seventh for the final 9-6 victory.
The difference in the game came down to the number of hits and stolen bases GHV collected and the number of errors Clear Lake committed. The Cardinals connected on 10 singles and managed to steal nine bases.
“They really wanted to succeed,” said Clear Lake Coach Megan Young. “Our errors came quickly and just let the Cardinals gain the few runs they needed.”
Mackenzie Van Gerpen and Tiara Van Gerpen led the Cardinals with three hits apiece. Payton Bamrick connected on two hits.
Mackenzie Van Gerpen led the team with three RBIs, while Tiara Van Gerpen and Mallory Van Oort each had two RBIs.
Tiara Van Gerpen and Mackenzie Van Gerpen led the team in speed with three stolen bases apiece. Maddie Tusha stole two bases.
Scoring two runs apiece were Tiara Van Gerpen and Bamrick.
For Clear Lake, Michaela Niles, Tori Fyfe, Michala Ouverson and Kiersten Hewett all recorded singles.
Ouverson led the team with two RBIs.
Scoring for Clear Lake was Lexi Jones and Hewett, with two runs apiece, and Erin O’Tool and Ffye each recorded one run. The Cardinal offense stepped it up, after a bumpy start by GHV pitcher Brooklyn Ossman. Ossman, a freshman, struck out four batters, including the final two batters of the game. She walked six batters and gave up four hits.
Clear Lake’s pitcher, Reagan Brackey, struck-out three batters, walked three and gave up 10 hits.
“Reagan pitched a fantastic game. She was really on,” said Young.
“It was a competitive game throughout,” said Weiser. “This time of year it’s just about finding a way to win and move on to the next game and our kids did that against Clear Lake.”
The win allowed GHV (8-19) to face 14th ranked Osage on Friday, July 11.