Jim class: M. Howdeshell pitches shutout, E. Howdeshell hits inside-the-park 3-run HR in Lady Zs win
Haughs, Maddie Heinzmann, Miller add 2 RBIs each
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Last week’s storms blew a hole through the roof of the press box at Fansler Field, rendering the concession stand unusable.
In their first game at their home park Tuesday, the Rochester softball team blew the doors off Triton, winning 12-0 in five innings.
Emma Howdeshell capped off a seven-run fourth with an inside-the-park three-run homer, and younger sister Mia pitched a four-hit shutout.
The game also marked the varsity debuts for freshmen Aubrey Miller and Mylee Heinzmann. Miller, who bats left-handed and throws right-handed, had a pair of RBI infield singles and made a running catch on Lena Doll’s liner in right field to lead off the second inning. Heinzmann, a second baseman who bats right-handed and throws left-handed, had a double and scored a run.
Maddie Heinzmann, Mylee’s older sister and a senior first baseman, and Sydney Haughs also had two RBIs each.
Kylie Coleman had a hit and an RBI, and Kallie Watson had a hit and a run scored. Darah Strasser had an RBI and a run scored.
Mia Howdeshell retired the first six batters before working out of trouble in the third. Shade Trent led off with a double to the left field fence, but Haughs in left field hit cut off player Emma Howdeshell who then threw to Coleman to cut down Trent trying to stretch it into a triple.
Mia Howdeshell then hit Alexandria Sumpter with a pitch and walked No. 9 batter Allison Barber, but she recovered to strike out Hannah Snyder on a rise ball and get Mylie Groves on a grounder to second.
Mia Howdeshell also left the bases loaded in the fifth.
“That was our goal coming in,” Coleman said. “We definitely started with Mia as soon as basketball got over with conditioning, with throwing pitches. We started out with 60 to 70 pitches, and we have her up throwing around 140 for each practice. Our goal is for Mia to carry a big load for us. With that being said, the first-pitch strike, we’ve been pushing. We have to get ahead of any batter that’s coming in, and she did a great job tonight.”
While Triton could not score on offense, they committed four errors on defense, including back-to-back errors on Emma Howdeshell’s fly ball to center that was dropped for a three-base error and Coleman’s grounder to short that was booted for an error.
Coleman eventually stole second and went to third on Watson’s bunt single. Maddie Heinzmann was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Miller then hit a squibber about five feet in front of the plate. Snyder, Triton’s catcher, fielded it and tried to step on the plate for a force out, but Coleman slid home safely.
Control eluded Doll in the second. She walked three straight batters before hitting Haughs with the bases loaded to force home Strasser.
Two batters later, Maddie Heinzmann’s grounder to second base was booted for an error to score Coleman and Haughs and make it 5-0.
Eleven Lady Zs batted in the fourth. Haughs tripled down the left field line to score one run, Maddie Heizmann drove in a run with a grounder to short, Miller notched her second RBI hit, and Strasser drove in a run with a grounder to second.
That brought up Emma Howdeshell, who hit a towering fly to deep right over Barber’s head. By the time Barber’s cutoff throw was dropped by the second baseman, she had followed home her sister and Mylee Heinzmann to make it 12-0.
“I was just busting my butt looking for Jim (in the third base coaches box) telling me to go,” a smiling Emma Howdeshell said. “That’s what I was focused on. I was hoping they didn’t catch it too because I hit it pretty high.”
This marked Coleman’s first foray as a high school head coach, but he’s hardly unfamiliar with the game. He’s coached travel ball for 14 years, and he said that experience has allowed him to see different strategies and approaches to the game. He said he learned the importance of strategizing and preparing for particular opponents.
Since Kylie is his daughter and is one of five seniors on the roster, he’s familiar with them as more than just softball players.
“Well, most of these girls I’ve been a coach in some aspect since they were very young, seven, eight years old,” Coleman said. “So I know them well on the field and off the field. So I know their tendencies. I know their weaknesses. With all that coming into play, it’s a good dynamic for us as a team to be able to be with them as long as I have them.”
Emma Howdeshell noticed the dynamic.
“I feel like we really jell altogether, and Jim really brought that community feeling and team feeling this year, and I’m really happy that he came for my senior year,” Emma Howdeshell said. “Because he’s coached us before and everything. … He keeps it fun at practice. Every coach has to be mean sometimes, you know, when we’re down and everything. But I just really like him as a coach. Everybody loves him.”
His first team figures to be fast and willing to put pressure on opposing defenses.
“We’re quick, and we have a lot of girls that can go get a ball. I’m a type of coach that really likes to stretch the play, whether that’s a stolen base or a ball in a gap really pushing from two to three (second base to third base), never giving up on it. Our speed allows for us to do that. … It’s a nice luxury for a coach.”
Rochester 12, Triton 0 (5 innings)
Triton 000 00 – 0 4 4
Rochester 230 7X – 12 8 0
WP – Mia Howdeshell (5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 4 K)
LP – Lena Doll (4 IP, 8 H, 12 R, 6 ER, 5 BB, 3 HBP, 4 K)
2B – Shade Trent (TRI), Mylee Heinzmann (RHS)
3B – Sydney Haughs (RHS)
HR – Emma Howdeshell (RHS)