The Waconia softball team finally opened the season April 30 by hosting a doubleheader against Mound-Westonka, taking the Whitehawks 13-0 and 7-0.
In the first game, the Wildcats tallied 13 runs on nine hits and no errors, while Mound had just two hits as well as two errors.
Playing as the “visiting” team in the first game, the Wildcats began their scoring run in the top of the second inning, led by a single from senior Jaci Reinke, who later stole second base. Senior Ashley Pannier walked before junior Kenzie Clouse had a three-run home run shot to center field to put WHS up 3-0.
In the fourth, junior Haley DeVlaeminck singled to center before junior Nicole Groeneveld reached the bags on an error by Mound’s pitcher and both advanced an additional base. On a flyout by Pannier, DeVlaeminck tagged and scored.
Clouse then grounded out to first base, scoring Groeneveld. Sophomores Madi Heckman, Kia Pankey, and Jordyn Goldschmidt all walked, with Heckman scoring on a passed ball during Goldschmidt’s at bat.
Junior Kiela DeVlaeminck then singled to center field, scoring Pankey and Goldschmidt.
The rally continued as Reinke singled to left field, followed by a double from Haley DeVlaeminck (Kiela DeVlaeminck scored). Groeneveld then doubled to center, scoring both Reinke and Haley DeVlaeminck.
The inning ended when Pannier doubled to left, but Groeneveld was thrown out at home. All in all, the Wildcats tallied eight runs in the fourth inning.
WHS wrapped up its scoring party in the top of the fifth with two additional runs. With Heckman reaching on a fielder’s choice and another walk for Pankey, Kiela DeVlaeminck doubled to left to score both.
The game was called after five innings because the Wildcats were up 13-0.
“It was a great way to offensively start the season,” said head coach Audra Lehrke.
Kiela DeVlaeminck and Haley DeVlaeminck led at the plate, both going 2-3 on the day. Kiela DeVlaeminck knocked in four RBIs and scored once, while Haley DeVlaeminck brought in one RBI and scored twice. Groeneveld, Pannier, and Clouse were all 1-2 at the plate. Clouse brought in four RBIs, while Groeneveld knocked in two.
Kiela DeVlaeminck pitched all five innings for WHS, walking one and striking out six. She only allowed two hits and threw a strike percentage of .658.
The second game was more Wildcat runs, and minimal actions off the Whitehawks’ bats for the 7-0 shutout again for WHS. Kaylee Vanderhoff threw six innings for WHS, only allowing three hits and two walks, throwing strikes 69 percent of the time.
RBI leaders included Helstrom (2), Pankey, Pannier, and Vanderhoff. Haley DeVlaeminck batted two doubles, while Helstrom and Pannier also doubled.
The Wildcats scored five runs in the bottom of the fourth and two runs in the bottom of the sixth. In that last inning, Vanderhoff started the inning with a solo home run shot to center field, the first of her career.
Two days later, thanks to a 10-run third inning rally, the Wildcats gave Hutchinson a 14-4 spanking on May 2. Waconia posted two runs in the first to Hutchinson’s one, then 10 runs in the third and two more in the fourth. Waconia scored 14 runs on 14 hits and three errors, while Hutchinson totaled four runs in 10 hits, with five errors.
“It was nice to see that [Waconia] could come back and play despite getting scored on in the first inning,” Lehrke said.
On offense, Reinke led the team with five RBIs, while Haley DeVlaeminck had three and Heckman had two. Also collecting RBIs were Kiela DeVlaeminck, Goldschmidt, Pannier, and Clouse. Five Wildcat runners reached bases on Hutchinson errors, whiel Goldschmidt, Heckman, Kiela DeVlaeminck, and Lexi Kretsch all stole bases during the game.
Big hitting days came from Haley DeVlaeminck, who had two doubles, and Reinke, who also doubled.
In the big-hitting third inning, many Wildcats reached base by laying down solid bunts.
“I was very impressed with the way the girls got their bunts down,” Lehrke said.
Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]