Gunter earns run-rule win over Pottsboro
GUNTER — Because Rhyan Pogue was helping the basketball team to the brink of the state tournament and its best season in nearly 20 years, the junior right-hander jumped into the circle less than 24 hours later to kick off her softball campaign.
It took a little time to get acclimated and the innings she threw over the weekend in the Lindsay Tournament helped her warm up for the final part of the season with only district games and Gunter kicked it off with a 10-0 victory in six innings over Pottsboro in 11-3A action.
Pogue threw a one-hitter with 14 strikeouts and two walks and also tripled, walked and scored twice, Sara Beth Jackson was 3-for-4 with a triple, two RBI and scored, Olivia Eft was 2-for-4 with a triple, two RBI and scored twice, Makenna Kincheloe was 2-for-4 with two RBI and scored twice and Gabi Geisendorff was 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBI for Gunter (8-4, 1-1), which is off until playing at Howe on Tuesday.
“Having the whole package here gives a lot of confidence,” first-year Gunter head coach Leigh Vickery said about the return of Pogue and senior shortstop Taylor Boddie. “It puts everybody in their comfort zone.”
Kayci Shiltz had the lone hit for Pottsboro (3-6-1, 1-1), which returns after spring break at Bonham on Tuesday.
The Lady Tigers didn't get a chance to defend their 2019 district title after last season was cancelled two games into 9-3A play. But a large core from both years returns, even though its a new alignment.
“I think this team’s going to be a contender for first place,” Vickery said. “There’s so much athletic ability and talent. We’re definitely going to come out and respect every team.”
Pottsboro had only three base runners against Pogue and she immediately shut down any scoring attempt in both cases.
Kayci Shiltz opened the game with a single to left before Pogue struck out the side as part of retiring 12 straight Lady Cardinals — nine via strikeout.
Aly Malone and Kara Nuemann walked to open the fifth inning with eight of the first nine pitches being balls but Pogue then struck out the side. She threw 79 pitches, 51 for strikes, and Shiltz's hit was the only ball to leave the infield.
The Lady Tigers scored all the runs they needed in the first inning when they nearly batted around.
Fox walked on four pitches and Boddie reached when the Lady Cardinals tried to get the force at second. Pogue loaded the bases with a walk.
Eft singled to center to drive in a run but Shiltz came up firing and cut down Boddie at the plate for just a 1-0 margin.
Kincheloe followed with an RBI single to center and then Jackson went the other way for a two-out triple into left-center and a 4-0 advantage.
Geisendorff kept the inning going with an RBI single up the middle.
“That’s something we’re trying to focus more on. Get to a pitcher the first time through,” Vickery said. “We were happy to see those five runs right off the bat.”
After leaving runners in scoring position in each of the next two frames, Gunter took a 6-0 advantage with consecutive two-out triples in the fourth — Pogue's went to right center and Eft's went to the center field fence.
“Make good contact and good things will happen,” Vickery said.
Four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning enacted the run-rule. Fox led off with a single, stole second and score on Boddie's double left.
Boddie moved up on a groundout and scored on Eft's RBI grounder to short and an error allowed her to go to second.
Kincheloe followed with an RBI single to left and with two outs, Geisendorff doubled to center for the final run to end the game.