A lack of offense and an untimely error cost the Ripon High School Tiger softball team as it was swept by the Wautoma Hornets in a non-conference doubleheader last week Saturday. It lost the games 6-3 and 3-1.
In the first game, the 6-3 defeat, Ripon managed just two hits. It did take advantage of three Wautoma errors to score three runs. Two of the runs were scored in the top of the second inning and allowed it to temporarily knot the contest at 2-all, while the other was plated in the sixth when it was trailing 5-2.
“The lack of offense now isn’t the girls necessarily not hitting the ball,” Ripon head coach Mike Makarewicz said, noting the strikeouts are down. “... The balls aren’t finding the holes right now.”
He added Bri Handel, who pitched the entire first game for the Hornets and finished the second game, was a “very solid pitcher” and a lot of the credit for Ripon managing just two hits should go to her.
Wautoma scored two runs in the bottom of the first, one in the second, two in the fifth and one in the sixth on six hits and six walks off of Ripon pitcher Emily Kasuboski. Five of the six runs for the Hornets were earned.
The Tigers were able to collect more hits in the second game as they finished with six, but they couldn’t do much with them as they scored only one run, which came in the bottom of the second inning on an Eva Baker RBI double. It was one of two doubles for Baker, who also added a single to account for half of Ripon’s hits.
Lexi Miller, Avary Makarewicz and Cassidy Mader also each recorded a hit for the Tigers.
Baker’s run-scoring double came after Ripon allowed three runs in the top of the second inning on three singles and a misplayed ball in the outfield, which resulted in all the runs scoring. Outside of that three-run second inning, Ripon starting pitcher Laila Simonis scattered five hits, while walking one Hornet batter, across seven innings.
Tigers drop tough doubleheader to Kewaskum
It appeared like the Tigers were well on their way to picking up a victory in game one of a road twin bill with the Kewaskum Indians last week Thursday and taking momentum into the second game.
They led 5-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning and had scattered just six hits and two walks.
That is when the game — and doubleheader — fell apart for them.
Ripon allowed the first six batters of the inning to reach on three walks, two singles and a hit by pitch. After recording a pair of outs, it then walked another batter and threw a wild pitch that allowed the Indians to win 6-5.
Kewaskum then carried the momentum over into the second game as it jumped out to a 13-1 lead after three and a half innings and staved off a furious comeback bid by the Tigers to win 15-12 and sweep the twin bill.
“It was tough because Emily [Kasuboski] threw close to a perfect game and then just in that last inning we couldn’t find the plate,” Mike Makaraewicz said. “And then … Laila [Simonis] got brought in as a pitcher in the toughest spot to get brought in. It was a bases loaded and down by two at that point and she was nervous.”
He added it was “way too many balls for a 5-1 lead” and that “we just needed to get the ball over the plate and they win the game.” The Ripon coach also acknowledged that the emotion carried over for Simonis in the second game as she felt like she “let the whole tea, down.”
After Simonis couldn’t record an out in the first inning, Ripon ended up using two pitchers that hadn’t pitched in two years in Alli Bumby and Abby Radloff.
The inability to throw strikes was a big reason for Ripon’s inability to come away with at least one win.
After walking four batters in the bottom of the seventh inning of the first game and hitting another batter, four Tiger pitchers combined to issue 17 free passes in game two, while striking out just three batters.
While the results were not what Mike Makarerwicz or the Tigers wanted, there were some positives.
Among them was the fight of Ripon in the second game. After falling behind 13-1 after three and a half innings, it scored sixth runs in the fourth and four in the fifth to close within 13-11. But that was as close as it got as Kewaskum answered with two runs in the sixth inning and was able to hold on for the 15-12 victory.
“The energy in that dugout that Avary [Makarewicz] and these other girls brought in the dugout [was impressive],” Mike Makarewicz said. “… They were digging and clawing at everything they could find to try to help the team find a way to win. And once we started seeing we had a chance that energy only built.”
Helping fuel the comeback was Lexi Miller as the senior went 4 for 5 in the game with four RBIs and four runs scored. Avery Downs added a 3-for-4 day at the plate with an RBI and two runs scored, while Cassidy Mader drove in four runs on a double and a walk. Kylie Disterhaft also drove in multiple RBIs (two) on a double.
Miller also had a big hit in the first game as her two-run home run in the sixth inning gave Ripon a 5-1 lead. Avary Makarewicz led the way at the plate for the Tigers in that opening game as she went 3 for 4 with two RBIs. Radloff added a 2-for-4 day, while Bumby recorded Ripon’s other hit in the game.
Ripon unable to dig out of early hole against Waupun
The Tigers were unable to overcome an early deficit as they fell to the Waupun Warriors 12-8 last week Tuesday.
Waupun jumped out to a 6-0 lead after a half inning and led 11-4 after two and a half innings. In the first inning, the first three batters reached on bunts, and after a pop out, the Warriors drew a walk, benefitted from an error and hit a grand slam. They then add three runs in the second inning and two in the third.
Ripon didn’t go away easily, however, as it scored three runs in the first inning, one in the second and third innings and three in the fourth on Radloff’s three-run home run to cut the deficit to 12-8.
Radloff’s home run was one of five in the game between the teams as Ripon hit three and Waupun had two. Also hitting home runs for Ripon were Mader and Kasuboski.
The Tigers out-hit the Warriors 13-11 in the game, with Kasuboski, Avary Makarewicz and Cassidy Mader recording three hits apiece. Miller, Radloff and Bumby also notched hits in the losing effort.
Mike Makarewicz noted that Ripon committed five outs on the base paths, which included two in the bottom of the seventh inning as it was trying to mount the comeback.
“If we can stop shooting ourselves in the foot … we really truly can hang with anyone; our record just doesn’t show it,” Mike Makarewicz said, noting that the game has to be one of the closest contests Ripon has had against Waupun in years and the eight runs has to be up there among the most it has scored.
Simonis started the game in the circle for the Tigers and suffered the loss as she allowed 11 runs, 10 earned, on eight hits and five walks. Kasuboski relieved her in the fourth inning and allowed just an unearned run on three hits and one walk in three innings of work.
The Tigers tried to snap a seven-game losing streak Tuesday in a doubleheader against the Plymouth Panthers that finished after press time.
They also will travel Thursday to Campbellsport to face the Cougars and will hit the road Friday to take on Oakfield, before returning home Tuesday, May 25 to welcome the rival Berlin Indians. Thursday’s and Tuesday’s games will begin at 4:45 p.m., while Friday’s contest is slated to get underway at 5 p.m.