WACO beats Winfield-Mt. Union
By Ashlee De Wit
WAYLAND — WACO’s plan was to treat Wednesday night’s regional game against Winfield-Mt. Union just like any regular-season game.
And considering that the Warriors beat W-MU twice in the regular season, that was probably a pretty good plan.
WACO came up with a 10-1 victory on their home field last night, defeating W-MU for the third time this year and earning themselves a spot in the regional semifinal.
W-MU ends its season with a record of 6-18.
Overall, W-MU Coach Ayla Serrano is proud of what her team has accomplished the season.
“From the first practice to today, I feel like it’s night and day, two different teams,” she said. “They’ve come so far in the fundamentals.”
With the win Wednesday night, WACO upped its record to 10-20.
“Before the game, we had a talk with all the girls and said that we were going to treat this like a regular game,” WACO pitcher Sara Conwell said. “We’ve beaten W-MU twice already this season, and it’s hard to beat a team three times. But we just wanted to focus on doing things right and having fun.”
WACO did a lot of things right, committing only one fielding error and coming up with 10 hits.
“We hit the ball well (against W-MU) and made plays on defense,” WACO Coach Shannon Rugg said.
W-MU, meanwhile, had a difficult time at the plate, unable to solve Conwell.
“(Our biggest struggle) was hitting, with the umpire’s strike zone and what (Conwell) was throwing — she was using the strike zone to her advantage, and we were chasing her pitches,” Serrano said.
Last night was the third time Conwell threw a complete game against W-MU this season, but by mixing up her pitches and finding catcher Morgan Dugger’s mitt with each throw, she kept the Wolves off balance.
“I was just hitting my spots tonight,” Conwell said after the game.
Conwell held the Wolves to five hits and one walk for one earned run on the night. She struck out 11 batters.
“Like any pitcher, when she hits her spots, she’s a lot harder to hit,” Rugg said.
Nicole Escher did the most damage for the Wolves, going 2-for-3. Sam Jamison was 1-for-2 with a walk and scored the team’s only run.
The Warriors had a good night at the plate as they focused on simply making contact.
“When we have two strikes, we widen (our stance) and try to put the ball in play,” Rugg said.
WACO had 10 hits on the night, led by Jaelyn Unternahrer, who went 3-for-5 with a double. Katie Miles was 1-for-2 with a double and walked three times. Conwell and Leah McElhinney had a pair of hits each.
Next up for the Warriors is a game against No. 10 New London; that contest starts at 7 p.m. in Danville on Friday.
The Tigers defeated the Warriors by scores of 13-0 and 13-5 during a doubleheader in Wayland earlier this season.
“We’re going to go in like we did for this game — just treat it like any other game, and focus on doing things right,” Conwell said.
“We’re as ready as we’re going to be,” Rugg said. “They’re ‘supposed to’ beat us — they’re ranked, and we’ve won 10 games this year. But we’ve just got to go out and make plays.”
WACO vs. W-MU
W-MU 000 100 0 — 1
WACO 002 521 x — 10
WP — Sara Conwell
LP — Paige Breon
WACO — Morgan Dugger: 0-4, BB, 3 runs. Jaelyn Unternahrer: 3-5, 2B, 2 runs. Leah McElhinney: 2-4, SAC, run. Conwell: 2-4, BB, 2 runs. Katie Miles: 1-2, 2B, 3 BB, run. Libby Skriver: 1-4. Hannah Black: 1-4. Cierra McArtor: 0-3, BB. Rosemary Skriver: 0-4, run.
Steals — Unternahrer.
W-MU — Sam Jamison: 1-2, BB, run. Nicole Escher: 2-3. Darby Harris: 1-3. Caitlin Jamison: 1-3.