Locked in: Big 2nd inning leads Valley City State past Mayville
By the second inning of the second game of a home double header with Mayville State University Sunday, the Valley City State University softball team had seen plenty of Ashley VandeVeen.
VandeVeen, Mayville’s starting pitcher, had already pitched seven innings to the Vikings’ lineup, six in a 5-1 game one loss and a scoreless first inning.
So in that second inning, the Vikings knew what to expect and entered at-bats looking for a hit from the get-go.
“We jumped out on that first pitch,” said Valley City third baseman Jane Pettit. “She was starting to really throw a juice-ball on that first one, so a lot of us went after that and were keeping our weight back, driving the ball.”
The result was an eight run, 13 batter second inning, which was all the team needed in an 8-0 win in the second game, which secured a series win over the Comets.
“We just wanted to be aggressive and put the bat on the ball,” said Valley City coach Chad Slyter. “We knew that if we kept hitting the ball hard, eventually the defense would maybe break down a bit.”
The inning started with a double by Pettit to left-center field on a 1-2 count.
Pettit then scored on a double down the left field line by Savannah McMillan and Hilary Kulczewski walked.
The Vikings kept getting on base, and by the time the lineup came back to Pettit, she hit another double, scoring two runs to make it 7-0.
After a pitching change, Pettit scored to make it 8-0 on a double by McMillan.
The rally was all the Vikings needed. Apart from the second inning, the Vikings had only two other hits, but also reached base on two errors. The game ended after the top of the fifth inning because of a run rule.
In both games Sunday, the Vikings played strong on all sides of the ball..
In the field, VCSU went errorless both games and put together solid play for pitchers Katie McBride (game one) and Jen Shadlock (game two), who each threw a complete game.
In both games, each pitcher allowed only six hits.
Shadlock finished with a shutout, while McBride allowed only one run.
Slyter said the pitching performance has been a constant this season. McBride’s ERA is down to 1.69 while Shadlock’s is at 3.20.
“Really, it’s just hitting spots, getting ahead of hitters, keeping your defense active,” Slyter said. “The big difference for those two is when we do play defense behind them, we can rest easier.”
In the first game Sunday, Valley City went up 1-0 in the first inning, but Mayville scored in the top of the fourth inning to tie it. Valley City took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fourth and two in the bottom of the sixth.
The Vikings also played Mayville in a double header Saturday at Mayville.
The Vikings lost the first game 4-3.
Mayville took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after a wild throw allowed three runs to score. The Vikings tied it in the fourth inning, but allowed one run in the bottom of the eight to end it. VCSU won the second game 6-1.