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Despite No Hits, Lady Broncos Split

Russell/Victoria's Brooklyn Nowak batting during 2021 game.
Russell/Victoria's Brooklyn Nowak batting during 2021 game.

GYPSUM-Some of the most bizarre things in sports happen at the High School level.  That was never more true for the Russell-Victoria Lady Broncos Softball team during their road doubleheader at Southeast of Saline High School on Friday afternoon.

Playing away from home for the first time since April 13, the Lady Broncos knew they were in for a fight against a Southeast of Saline squad that had dominated them in recent seasons when the two teams were both in the North Central Activities Association.  Still, no one could have predicted what transpired as the Lady Broncos failed to come up with a single base hit in 14 innings of Softball yet still came away with a doubleheader split.

Russell-Victoria used some early breaks and gutsy pitching from senior Kendra Bay to steal a 2-1 victory in Game 1 before Southeast of Saline won the nightcap 4-1.

In the first game of the twinbill played on a windy afternoon that saw a lot of red dirt on the Trojans' home diamond fly through the air and cover anything in sight, Taylor Powers led off the game with a walk then stole two bases before coming home on a wild pitch to give Russell-Victoria a 1-0 advantage after the top of the first.  Powers who had reached base on an error crossed the plate again in the third inning on an RBI groundout by Brooklyn Nowak to make the score 2-0.

The Lady Broncos had six baserunners in the game with all of them getting on base by way of walk, hit batter or error.  Bay (6-2) put in a clutch performance in the pitcher's circle, retiring the Lady Trojans in order twice and escaping jams in the late innings.  She ended the sixth inning with a Southeast batter grounding out to short and then after the Lady Trojans plated their lone run of the game with one out in the seventh, struck out the final two batters she faced to seal the win.

Bay ended up with five strikeouts while Southeast's Carly Commerford recorded 11 punchouts while not allowing a single hit.

Things didn't go quite as smooth for Brooklyn Nowak (4-1) in Game 2 as Southeast of Saline scored two runs in the bottom of the first on a fielding error and a steal of home.   The Lady Trojans added another run in the third inning before Russell-Victoria broke through in the top of the fifth inning when Valerie Dome, who led off the inning with a walk came home to score on a sacrifice bunt.  An error with two out led to another Southeast of Saline run in the bottom of the inning.

The Lady Broncos very likely would have had a few hits in Game 2 if not for the outstanding fielding of Southeast third baseman Chase Gilpin who took several bunt attempts and turned them into outs.  

Gilpin backed up her pitcher Lexi Jacobsen who recorded nine strikeouts including striking out the side to end the game.

Russell-Victoria (15-3) will wrap up the regular season on Thursday, May 13 when they travel to Hays to face TMP-Marian-LaCrosse in a doubleheader before turning their attention to Regionals which begin May 17 in Larned.

First pitch for Game 1 is set for 4 p.m.