Reservoir’s offense got going early and the team’s defense did the rest, as the Gators picked up a 6-1 victory over Hammond on Wednesday evening.
All six of the runs for Reservoir came in the first three innings providing more than enough support for junior pitcher Emily Wang, who struck out seven in the complete-game victory. It was the fifth straight win, four against county opponents, for the Gators to open the season after winning just 10 games all of last season.
“We’ve worked hard and really taken the losses from last year into this year … it’s really been all about redemption for us,” said Hannah Pinion, who was part of last year’s team that lost two of three against Hammond. “Today was just one more step toward our goals.”
Pinion was a big part of the early offensive surge for the Gators against the Golden Bears, scoring runs in the first and third innings.
In the first, Pinion reached on an error and later came around to score on an RBI single by Caroline Winand. Anna Bennett then made it 2-0 when she scored on an RBI groundout by Wang.
Hammond managed to close within a run, 2-1, on an RBI single by Emily Speierman (2-4) in the top of the second, but the Gators didn’t let things get any closer before blowing things open in the third inning.
In that frame, Pinion led off with a triple to left field and scored one batter latter on a hit by Bennett. By the time the inning was over, nine batters had come to the plate and a total of four runs had scored to make it 6-1.
“We actually talked before this game about how yesterday (against Marriotts Ridge) we left nine batters stranded and how that’s not OK. When you get up in that box and you see runners on, you have to be thinking how you’re going to push them home,” Reservoir coach Julie Frisvold said. “I think they took that to heart and they swung hard, ran everything out and took advantage of our opportunities today.”
Pinion says the team’s hitting has been much improved so far this spring and it has a lot to do with offseason preparation and work.
“We’ve worked so much more on bats this year because we knew that was our weakness,” Pinion said. “In the offseason, everyone really stepped up individually to get better.”
On the day, Pinion, Winand, Bennett, Wang, Sophia Sommerkamp and Tara Thompson all reached base multiple times.
While it was a rough start for Hammond’s Speierman in the pitcher’s circle, she settled down well. She finished with six strikeouts, didn’t allow a run after the third inning and retired six of the final seven batters she faced.
The problem for the Golden Bears was scoring runs against Reservoir’s Wang to get back into the game.
The team had plenty of hits, actually finishing with seven on the day and getting at least one runner on base every inning. But when it came to generating the big hit, Hammond coach Brad Speierman says that’s something the team is still working on.
“We’re just not being consistent right now,” Speierman said. “It’s just been sporadic throughout the line-up, which is nice to be getting hits from the lower half of the line-up too, but you have to put them together. We’ve now lost two games in two days where we have outhit the team we are playing against.”
Reservoir currently sits tied with Howard atop the county with its 4-0 mark in league play and 5-0 record overall. Frisvold says the team still has room to improve, but she has definitely been impressed with the all-around effort right off the bat.
“We’re trying to still work out a few kinks. I think the weather has forced a lot of teams to start out a bit slow, but I’m very pleased with our offense right now,” Frisvold said. “We’re hitting the ball well, the girls have a lot of confidence and that, along with coming through on defense when we need to, has all played into our good start so far.”
Hammond, which is still looking for its first win, finds itself in a rebuilding season according to Speierman. But he says he is definitely seeing plenty of steps in the right direction.
“The kids are working really hard and they are making a lot of progress,” he said. “I know they are feeling down right now, not feeling like they are seeing it, but they are definitely coming along. I think if we can cut down on the errors, get a little more consistent hitting, you are going to see things start to come together.”
Reservoir 6, Hammond 1