Craig softball uses big first inning to down Parker
JANESVILLE--The Janesville Craig softball team simply went though the motions during their pregame warmups Thursday.
That wasn’t noticeable after the first pitch.
The Cougars sent 14 batters to the plate and scored 10 first-inning runs on the way to a 15-1 Big Eight Conference victory in five innings over crosstown rival Janesville Parker at the Janesville Youth Sports Complex.
Craig improved to 9-7 overall and 8-6 in league play. Parker remains winless.
“This is like our Super Bowl, the two rivals, and we just came out really aggressive,” said Craig third baseman Gabby Loveland, who went 3-for-4 with a pair of first-inning doubles and three RBI. “We made up for our warmup, which was bad, but I think we just got the bats going.”
Craig’s first five hitters in the bottom of the first inning reached base and scored.
Sophomore Kayla Kaufman belted a two-run single that sparked a two-out rally for the Cougars. They scored seven of the 10 runs with two outs, thanks in part to three straight doubles from Loveland, Sydney Cramer and Cara Lemirande.
“We just had a horrendous warmup, and I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Bayreuther said. “I was ready to pull them off the field.
“But that was just a good job of hitting. What a great way to start the game. That was fun to watch.”
The Vikings were able to settle in somewhat after that, holding Craig scoreless in the second and third innings. They got on the scoreboard on sophomore Marquia Below’s RBI double in the top of the fourth.
But the first-inning damage was far too much to overcome.
“Craig hits really well,” Parker coach Alli Driscoll said. “We were better in the field today, but they just hurt us really bad in the first.
“We’re taking the positives and trying to build on those. And there are plenty more positives today than last game. We ended the rest of the game on a fairly good note.”
Craig struck for five more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning thanks to Lemirande’s bases-loaded double to right-center field. Lemirande, a junior, went 3-for-4 with five runs driven in.
“This season’s kind of been like a roller coaster,” Loveland said. “We’ve been on and off, but I think we’re starting to come around.”
Craig hosts Wilmot today; Parker travels to Beloit.