Contributions throughout a lineup will typically translate into success.
That’s exactly what Dubuque Hempstead got from its offense in an 11-0, 12-0 Mississippi Valley Conference doubleheader sweep over Dubuque Wahlert on Thursday at Wahlert.
“We had good at-bats and that’s what we kind of focus on,” Hempstead coach Jason Loeffelholz said. “We had a game plan to know the count and know what pitch we were looking for and we did a good job of that tonight, a lot of quality at-bats out there.”
In the opener, eight of the nine starters in the Mustang lineup contributed base hits, with six different players scoring runs. Leadoff hitter Mady Pint set the tone at the top of the order, going 4-for-4 with a triple, double and four runs scored.
“It felt good to kind of get back in a groove since I didn’t do so good the last couple of games,” Pint said. “It felt good to start on top and get it going for my team.”
Hempstead jumped in front early with a run in the first when Pint came around to score after a leadoff triple. They added three more in the second after the first two hitters made outs. Kate Muehring singled, Peyton Paulsen was hit by a pitch, and Pint and Carleigh Hodgson delivered RBI singles to make it a 4-0 game.
The Mustangs (8-2, 8-2 Mississippi Valley Conference) seized control in the third with four more runs, with the big blow coming off the bat of Paulsen from the nine-hole. After Brooke Hanson led off with a triple and scored on a groundout, Paulsen came up with a runner on and blasted a two-run homer over the left-centerfield fence for her first varsity round-tripper.
“That was the best thing ever,” Paulsen said. “I haven’t really been hitting good, but when I hit that, it was like the best thing ever.”
Paulsen also earned the Game 1 win in the circle, allowing just two hits over four innings, but was called for two illegal pitches early in the contest.
That prompted a prediction to her coach.
“After those two illegal pitches, I told my coach, ‘I’m hitting one for each illegal pitch that was called on me,’” Paulsen said.
She made good on her promise.
Paulsen delivered her second long-ball in the fifth, this time a solo shot down the left field line, to put the final touches on an 11-run, 15-hit attack in the opener.
In the nightcap, Hempstead put the game away early, scoring six runs on six hits and batted around the order in the first. Pint led off the game with a double — capping off a 5-for-6 day at the plate — and scored on Lydia Ettema’s RBI double. Chloey Vogt delivered a two-run single and Libby Leach added a run-scoring double.
The Mustangs added another run in the second, four more in the third and another in the fourth to close out the sweep. Ettema and Leach finished the second game 3-for-3 to lead the Mustangs.
“We focused on ourselves and what we can do” Loeffelholz said. “We are trying to play our Mustang style of softball and tonight I was just happy because I thought we played our game.”
Despite having just two hits in the opener, the Wahlert offense showed signs of life in the second game. The Golden Eagles used three straight singles from Lauren McClimon, Izzy Pfeiffer and Myla Breithaupt to load the bases in the first, before a double play ended the scoring threat.
Wahlert (0-15) advanced runners as far as third base in three of the four innings in Game 2, led by Pfeiffer’s 2-for-2 effort at the plate.
“We are actually really improving, our bats are coming around,” Wahlert coach Ashley Cullen said. “I know that sometimes they don’t feel that 100%, but they are making hard contact and eventually those will start dropping. I have a really young group; their attitude is incredible and they are really enjoying being out here and learning the game.”