Mohawk gets just enough offense

NEW RIEGEL – They are two of the Midland Athletic League’s top offenses and two of the top 10 teams in the state. But when Mohawk traveled to face New Riegel Friday, hits were hard to come by.

That’s how good the pitchers were.

Through five innings, the teams were evened up at two, with New Riegel’s Taylor Kirian and Mohawk’s Julie Adelsperger matching each other pitch for pitch.

Kirian held the powerful hitting Warriors to just one hit at the time.

But with eight hitters in her lineup hitting better than .350, Mohawk coach Jenny Weinandy said she was confident her offense would come around.

Finally in the sixth she got what she was looking for.

In a game dominated by pitching and defense, Clara Adelsperger’s bat became the difference. With two on, she knocked a single to left field scoring both to break the deadlock.

Although she was thrown out trying to reach third, the damage was done, and Mohawk went on to score a 4-3 victory over its rival.

“It’s always fun to play New Riegel; they’re a good team,” Weinandy said. “Kirian has matured a lot on the mound and we knew what we were facing. I have eight girls on the team that are in the MAL leaders in batting. So I knew we would open it up. I knew we would come back and start hitting. We had some key players get on base, then I had all the confidence in Clara to get a base hit. She’s consistent.”

“I just wanted to get ahead in the count and I hit it,” Adelsperger said of her winning hit. “My adrenaline was running and I didn’t really slide, but I knew it was a big hit.”

The inning started innocently with Sarah Runion blooping a single just over the head of New Riegel second baseman Cassandra Acree. Cambria Kohlenberg followed by lacing a single up the middle.

After the game, Clara Adelsperger said she knew there was no better time to break out.

“I knew that since we were tied we had to get something going because it was so close every inning,” she said. “So I knew we had to start something there. It’s important we got people on base first.”

After Clara put her team on top, it was up to sister Julie to shut the door.

Despite allowing a walk to Kirian in the bottom half of the sixth, she set down the Blue Jackets without much problem. In the seventh she struck out Lauren Zoeller, but gave up a monstrous home run to Hailey Theis that cut the score to 4-3. Adelsperger, though, wasn’t deterred and responded with a strike out and a fly out to right to end the game.

“I just had to stay focused,” she said. “Just shut everything else out. Concentrate up there and hit my spots.

“And I had great defense behind me. They did an awesome job tonight.”

Adelsperger allowed just five hits and struck out eight on the day.

New Riegel jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third. Acree executed a bunt single for the game’s first hit, her first of two hits on the day. She stole second and came home on an RBI hit from Morgan Noftz. Noftz came home when Kirian laced a double to the fence in right center.

Mohawk responded in the fourth when Runion and Kohlenberg reached base to start the inning. They moved up on a steal then came home when Acree couldn’t come up with a ball hit by Taylor McClain. Runion scored off the hit and Kohlenberg motored around to score on the throw back to the pitcher.

“Once Cambria, my second batter gets on base, she’s quick,” Weinandy said. “She went in and scored there on a routine (play). They weren’t expecting it. That’s Cambria. She’s unexpectable. She gets the job done.”

New Riegel coach Jamie Lininger said the fourth inning was one of the key factors in the game.

“They’re a nice team but what hurt us was that (fourth) inning,” he said. “We got up 2-0 and thinking we’re in really good shape. And we pretty much gave them one run on an error. I told the girls when you make an error you can’t compound that by making a mental mistake on top of it.”

Mohawk improves to 11-2, 4-0, and Weinandy likes how her team stands in the conference.

“It’s huge,” she said of the win. “We got Lakota out of the way, we got New Riegel out of the way. I’m not sitting back saying it’s a smooth ride because North Baltimore’s out there, Carey’s out there, St. Joe’s out there. We can have one of those games and not do well, but I’m betting on my hitting right now.”

The loss snaps New Riegel’s eight game win streak as its falls to 10-5, 3-1. Lininger though is already looking forward to a potential postseason rematch with the Warriors.

“I told the girls, I said ‘We need to play these guys again, and make sure it happens,'” he said. “That’s pretty much what I ended my little speech with, ‘make sure it happens.'”