The Roland-Story softball team was patient at the plate Thursday, June 22.
The Norse didn’t swing at bad pitches and didn’t swing for the fence on pitches that looked promising. They waited for the right pitch, and if that pitch didn’t show up, they took a walk.
That patient approach led to a four-run third and a four-run fifth inning en route to a 10-3 victory over Nevada in a Heart of Iowa Conference matchup.
“It’s always tough to face a slower pitcher,” Roland-Story coach Amber Doyle said. “It looks big and you want to go drive it. We’ve been trying to tell them, we’re still working on, if it’s not your pitch to drive, you’ve got to take the walk.
“Hitting a bad pitch poorly isn’t going to help build runs, isn’t going to help execute. Even if the ump calls a strike, you don’t have to swing at it.”
It’s that approach that helped the Norse improve to 11-10 and 7-8 in conference play. The Cubs dropped to 3-17 and 1-11.
Roland-Story took a 1-0 lead in the first as Jenna Clark scored on a Nevada error, but the Cubs answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning on a single by Grace Barloon.
The Norse’s biggest damage came later. In the pair of four-run innings, the Norse totaled just four hits between them.
They were aided in both innings by a Nevada error, but the Norse were better still served by exercising patience in the batter’s box and playing small ball.
In the third inning, the Norse sent nine batters to the plate, scoring runs on a variety of singles, fielder’s choices and sacrifices to open a 5-1 lead.
Roland-Story added a single run in the fourth to push its lead to 6-1.
In the fifth, Hailey Louw led off by reaching base on a Nevada error. Sydney Mathis followed with a walk, and Cora Spainhower singled to load the bases.
Jessica Hovick then drew a walk to score Presley Parker, who was courtesy running for Louw. Then Jade Elliott drew a walk to score Mathis. Then Talyn Phillips walked in Spainhower for another run. Juliann Clark flew out to center, but Susie Weaver reached on an RBI fielder’s choice that scored Hovick.
Jenna Clark, the ninth batter of the inning, flew out to short to end the inning with the Norse up 10-1.
“It was nice to see them being patient and taking the walk even though it’s not as dramatic and letting the people hit where we needed to hit,” Doyle said.
The Cubs managed two runs over the final two innings, but could not muster the offense to respond and keep the game competitive against the Norse.
The challenge for the Norse was staying focused.
“It’s hard to get mentally prepared for this kind of game,” Spainhower said. “When you do actually win, it’s nice you just build off it.”
Doyle said she made it a point to tell her team as much and made sure they kept focused, joking she would resort to yelling a lot.
“The message today was even though we’re up by eight runs, we’ve still got to execute the little things, because even though they might not bite you in the butt in a game where you’re up, but they could bite you in the butt in a game where you’re up by one,” Doyle said.
“If you let up in any game, any inning, any pitch, it’s going to breed you doing it later on when it counts.”
Roland-Story 10, Nevada 3
Roland-Story 104 140 0 — 10 5 2
Nevada 100 001 1 — 3 6 3
WP: Hailey Louw. LP: Madison McGaffin.