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Local Sports

Baxter softball cruises past GMG

Baxter senior Hannah Jones puts the ball in play against GMG on Friday during the Bolts 11-2 home win.
Baxter senior Hannah Jones puts the ball in play against GMG on Friday during the Bolts 11-2 home win.

BAXTER — A quick start for Baxter's softball team put Green Mountain-Garwin down early, and the Wolverines never recovered.

The Bolts scored five runs in the first frame and then Kinley Bethards shut down the Wolverines in the final five innings during an 11-2 victory in Iowa Star Conference South Division action.

The victory over GMG completes the season sweep. Baxter outscored the Wolverines 23-2 this season. The Bolts were 2-0 against GMG, North Tama and Colo-NESCO this summer.

"We hit the ball harder tonight than we had been and when they weren't hits they were hard hit balls that resulted in errors," Baxter softball coach Crystal Bruntz said.

GMG (2-8 overall, 2-5 in conference play) scored first in the game. Bethards walked the opening batter, and the Wolverines scored without registering a hit.

In the bottom of the first, Maddie Pierce drew a lead-off walk before Mandee Selover reached on a bunt single. McKenzie Eslinger's RBI single tied the game and then Amber Weltha's two-out, two-run single put the Bolts (6-3, 6-2) in front for good.

The Bolts weren't done though. Corryn Padget drew a two-out walk and then Baxter scored another run on a GMG error. Allyson Padget improved the score to 5-1 with an RBI single. Four of the Bolts' run came with two outs.

The Wolverines tallied another run in the second thanks in part to a Baxter fielding error. The Bolts had errors in the third and fourth innings, too, but GMG failed to take advantage.

In third bottom of the third, Baxter pushed the lead to 6-2. Weltha singled and moved up a base after a walk by Hannah Jones. Allyson Padget's sac bunt moved both runners over and Pierce's two-out RBI single scored Weltha.

The Bolts plated two runs in the fifth and added three more in the sixth to pull away.

Eslinger laced two doubles in the win, while Selover and Weltha each had a pair of singles.

Bethards (6-3) earned the win in the circle, allowing one earned run on three hits with two strikeouts and one walk in seven innings.

"We had some errors and issues in the field tonight," Bruntz said. "Holly (Jessen) helped us out by throwing out a runner at second and picking off one at first. She also made a heads up play by tagging a batter out who tapped a ball that stayed fair just in front of the plate."

The Bolts host Colfax-Mingo (9-3) at 5 p.m. on Tuesday in Baxter.

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