by Eric Oslund
This season is the first time that the Spectrum softball team has more upperclassmen on it than underclassmen since the program was first established, and that has led to some high expectations. A lot of these girls have been playing together since they were in middle school, and have the skills and experience to make the next jump.
They opened the season on April 6 against PACT, which was also the program’s first ever conference game, and it could not have gone any better. The Sting were able to come away with a 14-0 win in four and a half innings of play, recording 15 hits and six walks offensively.
“This is perfect for us,” head coach Rob Rogers said after the win. “We really wanted to start strong to build some confidence. Softball, and especially hitting, is such a streaky thing. It’s all about confidence, and one hit typically leads to two hits, which typically leads to three hits. We’re really optimistic that we were able to start the year this way and the girls were pretty excited after the game.”
Ellie Rogers has been the Sting’s shortstop for the past few seasons, but has also had some experience on the mound. This season, she is expected to be the go-to pitcher for her team and she was as close to perfect as anyone could have expected her to be in this opening game.
She pitched a shutout over the entirety of the game, only allowing two hits while recording seven strikeouts and two walks. Ellie Rogers attacked the strike zone, almost daring the PACT hitters to put it in play, but what really made her effective was her ability to utilize her change up.
“Her change was tough,” Rob Rogers said. “You could tell the PACT girls didn’t know what to do. They were afraid she was going to throw the change up and when she did they couldn’t hit it, and when she threw a fastball they were late because they were worried about the change up. She just kept them off their toes the whole game with her change up, so it was really good.”
The Sting followed up that performance with a game on April 7, on the road against Braham. They would also win that one, by a score of 9-1, to improve to 2-0 on the season. While the final score makes it seem like a lopsided affair, the game was actually scoreless through the first two innings.
Then the Sting got up to bat in the third and Makayla Morrell got things started off with an infield single. Ellie Rogers followed her with a line drive, and then Isabella Dorval loaded the bases after getting hit by a pitch. Elizabeth Hackbarth and Anna Brown were then able to record an RBI each off singles, and Natalie Duerr finished the job with a bases-clearing double over the center fielders head.
That gave the Sting a 5-0 lead, and then they would go on to score four more runs in the fourth inning.
Ellie Rogers threw her second complete game in a row, allowing five hits through seven innings of play, while also recording 12 strikeouts and two walks.