Barkema, Diersen provide pop in Hawks’ win
JEWELL – A balanced, damaging lineup is the envy of all softball coaches and it’s something that South Hamilton potentially possesses.
Putting it all together Nos. 1 through 9 in the same game doesn’t always happen, but slowing down the order completely isn’t usually a possibility either.
Right Greene County?
Rams’ starting pitcher Hannah Promes did a solid job of silencing the top of the South Hamilton lineup, but it was the middle that created problems when the Heart of Iowa Conference rivals met at the Mike Penning Athletic Complex Tuesday evening.
Nos. 6 and 7 batters Chloe Barkema and Breanne Diersen provided the pop when South Hamilton struggled, as they led the Hawks back from an early deficit to a 6-4 victory on Senior Night.
Back-to-back RBI doubles in the second inning woke up the sleepy Hawks (16-10, 9-5 HOIC), who won for the fourth time in five outings. South Hamilton jumped in front for good with four runs in the third inning.
It was a relief to head coach Rusty Wintermote, who wasn’t exactly encouraged after a first inning in which the Hawks allowed two unearned runs and then struck out three times when it was time to answer.
“It took us too long to get going, but I knew once we got through that first inning that we’d be OK,” Wintermote said. “Some nights it’s the top of our lineup, others it’s (Nos.) 5, 6 and 7, and we’ve also had nights were it’s our (Nos.) 8 and 9 hitters. Once we can figure out that we can go one through nine, we’re going to be a pretty dangerous team to play against. But we haven’t quite found that yet.”
Diersen, a lefty, smothered three Promes offerings and finished 3 for 3 with two RBI. Barkema also drove in two runs and scored once.
South Hamilton finished with six hits, three of them going for extra bases. Lead-off stick Taylor Volkmann blooped a double down the right-field line in the third inning and it ignited the surge that put the Hawks in command.
“Once we got into the flow of the game and got ahead we were fine,” Wintermote said. “This group gets a little more relaxed when they get ahead.”
Greene County (14-13, 6-8 HOIC) rattled off seven hits, but was held scoreless over the final four frames by Hawks’ pitcher Katie Johnson.
The Rams jumped in front 2-0 in the first inning despite putting up just one hit – a bunt single by Megan Carey. A walk and three passed balls allowed the runs to cross the plate.
Greene County made it 3-0 in the second on a RBI base hit by Laurin Lyons, but it was its third unearned run of the game. South Hamilton made four defensive miscues on the night.
“We’ve got to shore some things up defensively,” Wintermote said. “We just didn’t finish plays, which was bothersome.”
The back-to-back doubles to right field by Barkema and Diersen knotted the game at 2, but Greene County answered with another run in the top of the third courtesy of a Jenna Beyers RBI single to left.
South Hamilton rattled off three of its hits in the last half of the third. Brittany Spindler drove in one run with a perfectly-executed bunt single down the first-base line and Diersen laced a shot down the line in right to score another. Barkema and Ronnie Olson both collected a RBI as well with ground balls.
Greene County threatened in the fifth inning by putting its first two batters aboard, but it eventually fizzled. A bullet throw from Diersen in left field to catcher Alyssa Hegland, who was waiting to apply the tag to a sliding Kassie Lamoureux, ended the Rams’ last scoring opportunity.
Johnson, who struck out four, retired six of the final seven batters she faced.