Watson homers, Haughs goes 4 for 4 in Lady Zs’ romp over Southwood
E. Howdeshell, Mylee Heinzmann, Strasser add 3 hits each
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
WABASH — Sydney Haughs went 4 for 4 with three RBIs, and Kallie Watson cranked a two-run homer to left-center field as the visiting Rochester softball team incinerated Southwood pitching for 20 hits en route to a 19-8 win in five innings on April 26.
Emma Howdeshell and Darah Strasser each had three hits and two RBIs, and Mylee Heinzmann also had a three-hit day and drove in a run.
Kylie Coleman added a pair of hits and four RBIs, and Aubrey Miller had two hits and three RBIs. Maddi Heinzmann also had two hits and two runs scored.
Rochester trailed 4-2 after one inning but took charge thanks to back-to-back six-run innings in the second and third to take a 14-4 lead.
Mia Howdeshell pitched a seven-hitter with three walks and one strikeout for the win in the circle.
Rochester improved to 7-4 overall and 2-1 in the Three Rivers Conference. Southwood fell to 3-2, 2-1.
Freshman shortstop Grace Lambert hit a two-run homer as part of a four-run first for Southwood. Freshman center fielder Izzy Ashba hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth to cut the deficit to 11, but Mia Howdeshell got Rylee Thomas to ground out to Emma Howdeshell at shortstop with two on base to prevent the game from going to a sixth inning.
This marked the third straight year that the road team has won the Rochester-Southwood matchup. The Lady Zs avenged a 12-11 loss to Southwood last year in which they could not come back from a 10-0 deficit after two innings.
This time, the early deficit was more manageable. Maddi Heizmann led off the second inning with a double and advanced to third when Mia Howdeshell reached on a dropped fly ball in right field.
Mylee Heinzmann drove in a run with an infield single, and when the throw to try and get her at first was wild for an error, Mia Howdeshell advanced to third with Mylee Heinzmann taking second.
Strasser’s RBI infield single tied it. Emma Howdeshell was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Miller’s squeeze bunt gave Rochester a 5-4 lead.
That brought up Coleman, who laced a two-run single to center, and when the throw home was wild for an error, Coleman advanced all the way to third. Haughs added an RBI single to make it 8-4.
“Well, Maddi definitely got us going there,” Rochester coach Jim Coleman said of the leadoff double. “You know, to get production out of the bottom half of the order like we did tonight was key, but to be honest, we just had to settle down. We came out flat. Our defense gave up some runs early. … They just kind of fed off that. So it was good for us to come back in the second inning and really put up a good number and rebound. We didn’t hit the ball especially well against Valley Monday (a 6-4 loss), so for us to wait longer tonight and make a lot of contact was a big key for us.”
The third inning included a Mylee Heinzmann single and steals of second and third before another Strasser RBI infield single. Strasser advanced to second on an error and moved up to third on Emma Howdeshell’s double.
Miller then singled to center to bring home Strasser and Emma Howdeshell and make it 11-4. Two batters later, Haughs drove home Miller with a single, and Watson followed with her two-run shot to make it 14-4.
“I was not trying to hit a home run,” Watson said. “I think the count was 1-2, so I was just trying to hit the ball. But I feel like I’ve been in a slump lately. Like at the Valley game especially, I wasn’t hitting my best, and I started off rocky. So it just felt good, just getting back in that groove.”
After Lili Combs’ RBI groundout in the bottom of the third, Rochester scored four more runs in the fourth, all after nobody on and two out.
Strasser reached on a third-strike passed ball against freshman reliever Natalie Sutphin. She stole second and went to third on a throwing error by the catcher and then scored when Emma Howdeshell hustled out an infield single on what looked initially like it would be a groundout to the pitcher.
Miller reached on a bunt single, and when the third baseman committed a throwing error trying to get her at first, Emma Howdeshell scored all the way from first. Coleman’s RBI single made it 17-5, and after she stole second, Haughs added her fourth hit to score Coleman.
“It felt good going 4 for 4,” Haughs said. “I haven’t done that in a hot minute. It feels like I kind of got my groove back. Or at least I hope so. … I’ve been doing certain drills that are helping me not pop up. I think that was my biggest issue.”
Emma Howdeshell’s sacrifice pop fly to the shortstop in shallow left-center made it 19-5 in the fifth.
Rochester opened the scoring in the top of the first inning on Coleman’s RBI grounder to short and Haughs scoring on a throwing error by the catcher after stealing third.
“It was one of those things that I wanted to push,” coach Coleman said of his team’s speed. “Really get the bunts down and really take advantage of our speed. We tried to stretch their defense as much as possible. So I feel if we can do that and keep the pressure on the defense, it’s in our favor.’
But Lambert’s homer tied it, and Aubrie Hoffman scored on an error and Meredith Norman later stole home to give Southwood a 4-2 lead.
Rochester 19, Southwood 8 (5 innings)
Rochester 266 41 – 19 20 4
Southwood 401 03 – 8 7 5
WP – Mia Howdeshell (5 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K)
LP – Madi Culver (1 ⅓ IP, 9 H, 10 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 0 K)
2B – Emma Howdeshell (RHS), Maddi Heinzmann (RHS)
HR – Kallie Watson (RHS), Grace Lambert (SW), Izzy Ashba (SW)