The same words echoed throughout the softball field at Oregon High School again and again in a 7-5 win over Monona Grove on Thursday, June 3.
The win followed an 11-2 loss to Fort Atkinson on Tuesday and preceded a 2-1 win over Monroe on Monday, June 7, for the Panthers (11-10).
“Nobody better,” coach Scott Mirkes said repeatedly on Thursday to his players whenever they stepped into the batter’s box.
Particularly when junior Jordan Baumgartner was at the plate, the words rang true.
After scoring in the third inning, Baumgartner stood at the plate in a 2-2 game in the bottom of the fourth. She fought back an 0-2 count, eventually hitting an infield single to third base on a full count and driving in a run to give Oregon the lead.
Baumgarter finished 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI in the win. She reached the bases on two other occasions due to fielder’s choice plays, scoring twice.
“That’s just kind of her MO is she’s a scrappy little son of a gun,” Mirkes said of Baumgartner. “Some of it isn’t pretty, but they’re line drives in the book, and they come at the right time. She can handle the bat as well as anybody we have.”
The Panthers added three more runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 7-2 lead, and the added offense proved to be necessary as Monona Grove nearly charged back with three runs in the top of the seventh.
But Oregon sealed the deal in a win that Mirkes described as a “character” win for his team.
“We’re still searching for a consistent identity,” he said. “Last week we kind of went silent, losing to Edgewood 2-1 and then probably playing the least Oregon-like performance that we’ve had this year against Fort (Atkinson). So to see us come out tonight and respond to some changes and compete a little bit was really good.”
The Panthers combined for 11 hits in the game, and four players recorded two hits. Baumgartner had the only extra base hit for Oregon with a double in the third.
Senior Amelia Spilde finished with six strikeouts and zero walks for the Panthers, allowing two earned runs.
The Panthers are prepping for a postseason that many players haven’t been able to experience due to a lost season last year. Mirkes said as the team continues to search for an identity, he hopes they peak at the right time.
“We’ve got 12 new varsity players who are going into a postseason that they haven’t experienced yet. So we want to keep playing well, we want to figure out some more about us and some more about who we are as a team, and we’ll just kind of take it from there,” he said.
Fort Atkinson 11, Oregon 2A third inning push from the Panthers wasn’t enough in a Tuesday, June 1, loss at Oregon High School.
After going down by three runs over the first two innings, Oregon scored a pair of runs to inch within one score in the bottom of the third, but Fort Atkinson took over after that.
Baumgartner drove in teammate Lauryn Etienne to kick-start Oregon’s offense before eventually scoring herself on an error in left field. The Panthers finished with 10 hits in the loss.
Oregon 2, Monroe 1The Panthers scored when it mattered most in a Monday, June 7, win over conference rival Monroe, adding two runs in the sixth to down the Cheesemakers
Spilde hit a single into left field, scoring Hannah Corning to even the score. Kate Davis followed up the effort with a single of her own, scoring Emma Eisele to give Oregon the lead.
Hailey Berman finished 2-for-3 with a double for the Panthers, and Eisele registered two hits. Spilde finished with eight strikeouts and two walks.