Oregon dents Watertown’s conference chances
Watertown’s softball team was dealt its second setback in the Badger South with a 2-0 loss to Oregon at Brandt Baseball Center on Friday.
Kenadee Nelson went the distance, striking out seven and held the Gosling offense to three hits in a game that was scheduled to be played in Oregon before field conditions required a switch of sites.
Nelson’s velocity kept Watertown (9-4, 7-2 in conference) hitters from finding a groove.
“I felt like our approach at the plate wasn’t great,” Watertown softball coach Patty Jansen said. “She has a great fastball, that’s the hardest-throwing pitcher we have seen. She didn’t have a lot of movement.
“She did a great job keeping us off balance and is wild enough for us to have to guess and not be able to dig in. She did a great job and wasn’t able to do that the last time we played them.”
The Goslings had two baserunners in both the first inning and fourth inning. They had a scoring opportunity in the sixth when Paige Bacchi hit a 1-out double to center. Shaylyn Dunn popped out and Hannah Thompson struck out to end the frame.
In the seventh, Leeanne Harshbarger reached on shortstop Allison Morgan’s error with one down. Justyce Wandersee courtesy ran for Harshbarger.
Brianne Korducki hit a hard liner on the first pitch she saw from Nelson, but it was directly at first baseman Levi Rich who stepped on first for a double play to end the game.
“We have nine seniors, if the nine seniors can’t take that and flush it then we’ll struggle,” Jansen said. “They have to be ready to go. If they can’t be ready to lead us into another streak, we’ll struggle. I think they’ve played long enough to know that, (you have to) let it go. Be ready to go tomorrow. Tomorrow’s tournament is a big deal.”
Watertown roughed Nelson up for six runs over 4 1/3 innings in a 9-2 victory on April 16. The right-hander effectively worked in a changeup to keep the Gosling lineup down.
“She was just confident today,” Oregon softball coach Scott Mirkes said. “She had a great mindset and mental preparedness for this game. She mixed in her change in key spots.”
Dunn pitched six effective innings for Watertown, allowing two earned runs and five hits. She struck out three and walked one.
“Shaylyn Dunn pitched very well to hold their offense to two runs,” Jansen said. “They got one in the first and we loaded the bases on our own mistakes. She was able to get out with just one run (in the third). I thought she did a great job. This is the first time we haven’t put a number on the board in a long time. Offensively, we have to take the blame because she did a great job.”
Brianna Hendricks had a base knock in the fourth inning and was superb defensively. Dunn also singled in the first.
The Goslings are now two games behind first-place Monroe in the loss column. The two teams meet for a doubleheader at Brandt Baseball Center on Thursday.
Oregon had two singles and reached on an error to load the bases in the third. Megan Bloyer had her second run-scoring hit of the game to make it 2-0 Panthers.
Watertown plays three games at the Chippewa Falls Invitational today beginning at 11 a.m.
OREGON 2, WATERTOWN 0
Watertown 000 000 0 — 0 3 1
Oregon 101 000 X — 2 5 2
Pitching (ip-h-er-bb-so) — W, Dunn 6-5-2-1-3; O, Nelson 7-3-0-2-7
Leading hitters — Bloyer (O) 2x3, 2B
2B: Bacchi (W)