Pete Logan
Behind the five-inning complete game, three-hit, shutout pitching of junior hurler Harley Pruetting, the Gardner-Edgerton High School softball team defeated Shawnee Mission West in a run rule-shortened 14-0 triumph last week at Gardner-Edgerton District Activities Center. The win gave the Trailblazers a 2-0 start on the season, following a earlier 23-0 win over Shawnee Mission South.
For the evening, Pruetting allowed 0 runs and just three hits in five innings of pitching. Pruetting walked two batters and struck out eight, while only allowing one runner past second base all evening.
After Thursday night’s contest, Joanne Calvin, GEHS head coach, spoke of the early season successes of both Pruetting and the Blazers’ Tuesday night winning hurler, senior Angelina Gear.
“They have been doing a great job,” said Calvin. “We’ve really talked to them about getting ahead in the count and staying ahead in the count, and they both have done a great job of just throwing strikes, not getting deep — no long counts.”
After Pruetting opened up the game by retiring the Lady Vikings’ first three hitters in order, the Trailblazer batters wasted little time in staking themselves to the lead. Leadoff hitter Erin Michael (Jr., 3B) reached first base on an infield single which was then followed by a bunt single by sophomore catcher Logan Ringel to put runners on first and second with no outs. Junior second baseman Kenna Trout then loaded the bases with a no-out walk. It was then that Pruetting made her presence felt offensively by drilling a single up the middle that drove in Michael and Ringel, making the score 2-0 Gardner-Edgerton. A double steal during GEHS senior left fielder Lauryn Karr’s at bat then scored Trout to make it 3-0. At ball four of junior outfielder Ellie Garrie’s base on balls at bat, a passed ball by the West catcher allowed junior courtesy runner Kaylah Newman to score, and the Trailblazer lead grew to 4-0. Blazer junior first baseman Kiersten Markos then followed that with a single, during which a Lady Vikings’ error allowed her to take second base and for Garrie to take third. Two batters later, a wild pitch by West’s pitcher brought home Garrie and the Blazers took a 5-0 lead into the second inning.
Pruetting again held SMW scoreless in the top of the second, and the Blazer offense responded by plating two more runs in the bottom of the second. Walks to the first three Blazer hitters loaded the bases for Karr, who then smacked a single that scored Michael and Ringel from second and third, respectively. The two-RBI single gave the Trailblazers a 7-0 lead after two complete innings.
Gardner-Edgerton tacked on one more run in the bottom of the third inning, after Pruetting worked her way out of a two-on, zero-out jam in the top half of the frame. In the bottom of the inning, Michaels led off the Blazer batters by getting hit by a pitch for a free trip to first. Michaels then stole second base during Ringel‘s next at bat and then scored when Ringel laced a single into the outfield. The Blazers took an 8-0 lead into the fourth inning.
The Trailblazers continued their offensive onslaught in the bottom of the fourth. Karr led off the GEHS half by slicing a triple into left field on the first pitch. Garrie then grounded out to the pitcher, scoring Karr. With two outs, Junior outfielder Katie Thompson earned first base with an infield single. Junior shortstop Lilly Kepler then blooped a single into centerfield and took second base on an error while Garrie moved to third. Michaels then returned to the plate and hit an infield single that scored Garrie, while Kepler also scored on the play when a West throwing error gave her a passage home, making the score 11-0. Ringel followed that with a double to left that scored Michaels. To cap off the scoring on the evening, Trout blasted a two-run home run to left on a 3-2 count, and the Blazers went into the top of the fifth with a 14-0 lead.
With one out in the top of the fifth, the Lady Vikings had put runners on second and third with one out, yet Pruetting ended the threat — and the game — by striking out the last two West batters of the night, preserving the shutout.
As much as Calvin was pleased with her team’s pitching performances, she was almost equally effusive in her praise for the Blazers’ approach at bat.
“I feel like — for the most part — we all have a plan when we’re up to the plate,” Calvin said. They know what their job is when they’re up there, so they’re getting their pitch. They’re doing a great job, even working the count deep — several of them.”
Offensively, Ringel led the way for the Trailblazers, going three-for-three with a double and two RBIs and reaching base on four-out-of-four plate appearances. Karr went two-for-three with a triple and two RBIs, while Michael went two-for-three with two RBIs and made base in three of her four plate appearances. Trout was officially one-for-two in at bats with a home run and two RBIs, but was also three-out-of-four in plate appearances for the day. Markos was one-for-two batting and two-out-of-three in plate appearances, while Pruetting went one-for-three from the plate with two RBIs and was two-out-of-four in plate appearances.