Pitch

Grace Day of Kelly's 18s pitches to Fremont during a softball game on Tuesday night in Norfolk.

Kelly's 18s came from behind in the opener and put up a series of crooked numbers in the nightcap en route to a doubleheader sweep of the Fremont Avalanche 5-4 and 11-4 on Tuesday at Ta-Ha-Zouka Park.

Kelly's coach Kent Rucker said his team — winners of four out of their last five games — is beginning to get comfortable at the plate.

“It was nice to see the bats come alive,” he said. “We were in a slump there a while and we couldn't hit our way out of a wet paper bag, but they really came back and hit nice tonight, put pressure on their defense.”

In the opener, the Norfolk squad got on the board first. With one out in the bottom of the first, Grace Day singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Maggie Berryman's base hit. Bailey Rucker later drove in Hannah Mathis for a 2-0 lead.

Day, who pitched for Kelly's, had allowed the Dodge County girls just one hit in the first two innings, but she ran into trouble in the third, as the first four batters all recorded base hits.

The Kelly's defense also committed two errors in the frame as four runs crossed the plate with just one out. Then with runners on second and third, Day was able to bear down and strike out Kenzie Ridder swinging and coax Emerson Gilfry to ground out.

Kelly's tied it up in the fourth as Mattie Young and Maggie Dale both singled and later scored. Sidney Kassmeier's base hit plated the tying run.

The Fremont squad went down in order in both the fifth and sixth innings. Young then led off the home half with a single, advanced to second on Dale's sacrifice bunt, went to third on a wild pitch and scored what would turn out to be the winning run on Alyx Siems' bunting base hit.

Meanwhile, Day shut down the Avalanche bats, retiring the last 11 hitters she faced. Day helped her own cause at the plate as one of four Kelly's players — Berryman, Rucker and Young were the others — with two hits each.

Kelly's scored early and often in the second game. After spotting the Avalanche two runs in the top of the first, the Norfolk kids got their aluminum in gear with five runs in the first and another four in the second for a 9-4 lead.

The Fremonters looked to be in business in the third with the bases loaded and nobody out. But Kelly's catcher, Mathis, saw Avalanche base runner Carlie Neuhaus stray off third a little too far and fired the ball to third baseman Day who put on the tag for the first out.

In the circle for Kelly’s, Rucker got the next two hitters to fly out and escaped the jam unscathed. Kelly's tacked on two more runs in the third for the final 11-4 margin.

“Bailey (Rucker) struggled a little bit in the last game, but the defense kept her in it and the offense kept them in it,” Kent Rucker said.

Kelly's had a total of 21 hits for the two games combined. “If we hit, it just relaxes us,” Rucker said. “It all starts with the bats and we finally got them to come around tonight.”

Kassmeier, Mathis and Grace Zautke each had multiple hits for Kelly's in the second game.

With the victory, Kelly's improved to 17-17 on the year. The Norfolk nine will play in Genoa on Thursday in a doubleheader with Twin River. First pitch is at 6:30.

GAME ONE

Fremont Avalanche 004 000 — 4 6 2

Kelly's 18s 200 201 — 5 10 2

WP: Grace Day LP: Carlie Neuhaus 2B: F-Tori Baker

GAME TWO

Fremont Avalanche 220 00 — 4 8 2

Kelly's 18s 542 00 — 11 11 2

WP: Bailey Rucker LP: Baker 2B: F-Jay Cone, K-Mattie Young, Hanah Mathis, Sidney Kassmeier

In other news

Times are changing and the Norfolk Golden Girls under-18 softball team is changing with them. With the exception of its own tournament during the first week in June, the team spent its entire 2019 season on the road.