With their backs against the wall, the Dubuque Senior bats came alive in time to possibly avoid a sweep. Trailing by four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 2 of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Wahlert, Emma Clancy, Emma Link and Ava Bradley each drove in runs to cut the Golden Eagles’ lead to just one with two outs and the tying runner at second base.
On this day, the Rams’ hitting just wasn’t timely enough. Kathryn Nedder snagged Rylee Capesius’ line drive at third base for the final out to lift the Golden Eagles to an 11-3, 9-8 sweep of rival Senior.
“Right now we’re kind of in a funk,” said Rams coach Kevin Steines.
Senior out-hit Wahlert, 10-9 in Game 1 and 14-10 in the night cap, only to drop its fourth straight game and fall to 5-12 on the year.
“Both defensively making the simple plays and offensively getting the timely hit,” Steines said. “We just can’t get that timely hit with bases loaded, or defensively we make that one error that winds up continuing the inning, giving up two or three runs when it should’ve been a zero up there.”
In the other dugout, the Eagles were continually timely, and coach Ashley Cullen couldn’t be more pleased with how this team has progressed since he took over last year. This marked Wahlert’s seventh win in eight games.
“We took advantage of opportunities that they gave us and were able to execute,” Cullen said. “It feels good. Last year when I got here, we hadn’t really had too much success in the past. We’ve really been working on the small things, fundamentals and executing. Doing your job when you’re out there.
“They’ve been really executing on the small things. They’ve been doing their job and putting a lot of time and effort into it which has really moved this program ahead.”
The Eagles (10-6) never trailed in either contest, jumping on the Rams early in both games. Ellie Timmerman and Natalie Kelzer both reached base to start Game 1 for Wahlert and Paige Hummel tattooed a no-doubt homer to left field in the next at-bat to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead to open the game.
Senior got two of those runs back by the third inning, thanks to Bradley’s two-run blast. But the Rams let Wahlert run away from them with a disastrous bottom half of that inning — five Eagles runs scored fueled by three Senior errors to make it 8-2 Wahlert. The Eagles then scored three more in the fifth, an 11-2 cushion that was insurmountable with two frames remaining.
Timmerman again scored the game’s opening run in the night cap, drawing a lead off walk, advancing to second on a sacrifice, stealing third and scoring on Roth’s two-run double for a 2-0 Wahlert lead. Isabelle Pfeiffer scored on a wild pitch in the second inning to make it a 3-0 Eagles lead, and after giving up two Rams runs in the fourth inning, Wahlert scored three more in the bottom half and two more in the fifth to make it an 8-5 lead with two innings to go. Pfeiffer’s sacrifice fly in the sixth made it a 9-5 Eagles lead entering the final frame, every bit of which, it turns out, was needed on Wahlert’s side.
“Just doing the little things. A lot of people got bunts down at the right time or took advantage on the bases,” said Roth, who pitched for a complete-game victory in Game 1 and came on for the save in Game 2. “Everyone just did a really good job of doing their job. Even on defense, some great plays were made to keep us in the lead.”
Hummel finished with a series-high four RBIs while Timmerman scored five runs to lead Wahlert. Capesius was Senior’s top hitter, going 4-for-5 between both games. Sydney Schultz took the loss for the Rams in Game 1 and Chloe McCarty was Senior’s pitcher of record in the night cap.