It took a few innings, but the U14 Ice were able to take a stranglehold on their first game against the Lumsden Cubs Wednesday night at Optimist Park.
They ended up winning 17-2 after being tied 2-2 in the fourth.
Ice head coach Paul Litzenberger noted the change in approach when the Cubs brought in a pitcher who threw more strikes.
“That’s what they do,” he said. “As soon as they start swinging the bat, they hit with confidence and they start hitting the ball hard, and they’re so aggressive on the basepaths, that everybody starts thinking about them on the basepaths and it just steamrolls it.”
The Ice didn’t need any extra-base hits in their game. Callie Klemenz hit a pair of singles and scored a run in the first game, while in relief, Haily Molde and Waverly DeMassi pitched three shutout innings.
“Defensively we did our job,” Litzenberger said. “We gave them two runs, but we just weren’t ready to swing. With a pitcher like this, it’s tough because they’re a little bit wild and when the good (pitches) come in, they’re starting to keep that bat on their shoulder a little more.”
The Ice won the second game of the doubleheader 25-4. Leadoff hitter Peyton Mengel scored four runs, while DeMassi walked three times and scored thrice. Ice pitcher Ava Unser whiffed eight Cubs batters in three innings of relief.
The Ice's next games are a Friday doubleheader against the Fighting Saints, and Litzenberger sees that as a good test for his team.
“They’re a strong team and we’re going to see what (our) mettle is like then,” he said. “We’re going to put our girls in certain spots to make sure they’re successful and that our entire team is successful. We’re going to put a little more pressure on them to make sure we’re hitting the ball more. No mental baserunning errors, and seeing substantially better pitching.”
And it may be one of the last good tests for the team this season as Softball Saskatchewan announced earlier this week there will be no provincials.