As far as season openers go, Hammond coach Brad Speierman said he couldn’t have scripted things much better. On a cold and blustery afternoon, the Golden Bears manufactured a couple runs early and senior pitcher Samantha Speierman did the rest, helping Hammond down Reservoir, 5-2, on the road Thursday.
“It was pretty much exactly the way we wanted to do it — get a run on the board right away and try to keep adding to it,” Brad Speierman said. “We know once we get ahead, we’ve got Samantha, we’ve got Emily (Speierman) and we’ve got Caroline (Goyne) as pitchers that don’t need a lot of run support. We give them a lead and we know we’re in pretty good shape.”
Against the Gators, it was Samantha Speierman who had the ball in the circle and she was on top of her game from the very beginning. She struck out the side in the first and ended up finishing with 10 strikeouts on the game, while allowing just four hits.
“I felt good and having the lead made it even better,” Samantha said. “When I was getting more nervous toward the end it helped that we had kept adding to our lead and I didn’t have to stress as much.”
Hammond got on the board in the first inning without the benefit of a hit. Emily Speierman walked, then advanced around to third on a wild pitch and a stolen base. She then scored the first run of the game courtesy of another wild pitch.
Then, after a 1-2-3 second inning, the Bears tacked on another run in the third on a walk, a couple stolen bases and a couple infield singles. Keyuana Griffin had an RBI bunt single in that third inning.
“I was very proud of the way they came out,” Brad Speierman said. “I know they were nervous — everybody is nervous the first game — but I was very impressed with how they fought (the nerves) off and did exactly what we’ve been working on since March 1.”
Hammond added another run in the fourth inning when Lauren Hutchison doubled to get things started and a couple wild pitches brought the run in.
Reservoir didn’t get its first hit until the bottom of the fourth, a single to center by Sophia Sommercamp. But she did end up stealing a couple bases to score the Gators’ first run.
Hammond, though, kept scrapping away.
Capitalizing on a triple by Emily Speierman in the fifth inning and a couple infield singles in the sixth, the Bears pushed their lead back up to four.
Reservoir did get a clutch RBI triple by Anna Bennett in the bottom of the seventh, but Samantha Speierman killed the rally by inducing a couple groundouts to end the game.
“I saw a lot of nice plays and I was pleased with how we fought back at the end, it’s just a matter of us cleaning up the mental mistakes that cost us early on,” Reservoir coach Julie Frisvold said. “We made those mental errors and they took advantage of it, which good teams do.”
For Hammond, the opening victory was a confidence builder.
“We only had four innings of a scrimmage during the preseason, so we were really nervous about how we would do coming in,” Samantha Speierman said. “But we played so well. This gives us a really great mindset for the rest of the season.”
Hammond 5, Reservoir 2
123 456 7 R-H-E
Ha 101 111 0 5-7-1
Re 000 100 1 2-4-3
Ha – S. Speierman and K. Griffin.