FUN IN THE SUN
YOUNGSTERS THRIVE IN HAWKS SHELLING OF NEVADA
NEVADA — There’s a reason why eighth grader Makena Galetich, and freshmen Kate Barkema and Zoey Duns are on South Hamilton’s varsity softball roster. Will they make mistakes and, at times, make head coach Harry McMaken want to rip the hair right out of his beard? Of course, that’s what youth is all about. But they also have the talent to make McMaken salivate while thinking about the future.
Their skills were on full display in the Iowa heat and humidity Monday evening, as all three played key roles in South Hamilton’s 10-1 thumping of Nevada in Game 1 of a Heart of Iowa Conference doubleheader.
Barkema left her mark with small ball. Duns put a charge into her team with the long ball. And Galetich was Harry Houdini inside the pitcher’s circle.
“This has been so much fun,” Duns, who cranked her first varsity home run — a three-run shot to straightaway center field in the fourth inning — said after the opener. “Everyone is cheering in the dugout, everyone is lifting each other up … it’s just been amazing.”
South Hamilton (6-6, 6-6 HOIC) won its fourth straight contest courtesy of a nine-run explosion in the fourth frame — a stanza in which seven girls accounted for eight hits. The Hawks finished with 10 hits, two of which went for extra bases.
“In that first game we played with a lot of confidence,” McMaken said. “It’s a fun group of girls to coach.”
Jessi Harms, the only senior in the Hawks’ starting lineup, finished 3 for 3 at the dish with an RBI, two of her knocks coming in the fourth. Barkema went 2 for 3 and scored twice in the fourth, while Brenna Barquist and Kaylee Oskvig had two RBIs each.
Barkema opened the fourth-inning outburst by laying down a perfect bunt towards third base for a single. Mackenzy Garvey and Harms followed with base hits, and Barquist gave South Hamilton a 2-1 lead with a ground ball.
But the Hawks were just getting started.
Oskvig busted it open with a two-run line-drive single to center, and two batters later Duns unloaded on a Makayla Spaid offering and deposited it over the fence in center.
“I was just looking for something to hit,” Duns said. “It felt pretty good. When I looked up I said, ‘That’s gone.’ I was so happy and I needed that.”
Harms’ second single of the inning drove in another run, and Anna Lammers sent a shot into the gap in right-center for an RBI double to give the Hawks a 10-1 cushion.
And no one in the South Hamilton dugout was more excited than Galetich, who was making just her second start on the rubber.
“That safety net was nice,” Galetich said. “It’s fun to play (with this team) and it’s fun to win too.”
Galetich got herself in a third inning jam, but Nevada (9-5, 6-5 HOIC) was able to plate just one unearned run. In the fifth, the Cubs loaded the bases with no outs, but came up empty after Oskvig turned an unassisted double play on an infield pop-up and Galetich got Lani Khounsourath to bounce out.
“I was just trying to get a ground ball to my infield or a pop fly to my outfield because I know they can do the work and get us out of it,” Galetich, who surrendered seven hits and struck out one, said. “It was awesome.”
With two wins in two starts, McMaken continued to be impressed by both Galetich’s ability and poise.
“From the very first game Makena played in, she’s had confidence and she doesn’t get rattled,” he said. “She has an excellent softball IQ and she doesn’t get down on herself.”
Cubs earn split
Nevada avoided the sweep with a 7-6 victory over South Hamilton in Game 2 of the doubleheader on Monday.
Samantha Herridge belted a solo home run in the second inning and Peyton Hanson unleashed a two-run shot in the sixth to carry the Cubs to the win. But McMaken said it was his own team’s lack of execution defensively that ultimately ended the Hawks’ four-game surge.
“Honestly, we had too many errors (three),” he said. “I don’t want to take anything away from Nevada because they played well, but we helped them a lot in that second game.”
Grady went 3 for 4 with an RBI, and Oskvig roped two singles and drove in three runs to lead South Hamilton offensively. Tanna Thompson also had a pair of singles.
Harms was on the hook for the Game 2 setback. She was touched for 11 hits, but only three of Nevada’s runs were earned. She walked three and struck out two.
South Hamilton’s game against Saydel, scheduled for Wednesday, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Saydel announced on Monday that it has cancelled the remainder of its season.
The Hawks will close out the regular season at home on Thursday against Gilbert.
South Hamilton 10, Nevada 1
Nevada 001 000 0 — 1 7 1
S. Ham 010 900 x — 10 10 3
Makayla Spaid, Samantha Herridge (5) and Peyton Hanson. Makena Galetich and Zoey Duns. WP — Galetich. LP — Spaid. Multiple hits — NEV: Ellie Gray; SH: Jessi Harms (3), Kate Barkema. 2B — SH: Anna Lammers. HR — SH: Duns. RBI — NEV: Addi Vorm; SH: Duns (3), Brenna Barquist (2), Kaylee Oskvig (2), Harms, Lammers.
Nevada 7, South Hamilton 6
S. Ham 002 020 2 — 6 8 3
Nevada 014 002 x — 7 11 4
Jessi Harms and Mackenzy Grady. Samantha Herridge and Katelyn Khounsourath. WP — Herridge. LP — Harms. Multiple hits — SH: Grady (3), Tanna Thompson, Kaylee Oskvig; NEV: Herridge, Sydney Mosinski, Lani Khounsourath. HR — NEV: Herridge, Payton Hanson. RBI — SH: Oskvig (3), Grady, Anna Lammers; NEV: Herridge (3), Hanson (2).