GLADSTONE - The air was cold but the Gladstone Braves' bats were hot as they swept past Marquette in Tuesday night's home softball opener.
While the Braves offense was active in both games, It was seniors Christine Sharon and Mikayla Depuydt that set the pace. The pitching duo combined to no hit the Redettes in a five inning, 6-0 opening win.
In the nightcap, Depuydt and Breanna Winling shared mound duties as Gladstone edged Marquette 6-2, in a weather shortened four inning match-up. Gladstone head coach Ashley Hughes said Depuydt's practice is paying off.
Jon Young | Daily Press
Gladstone’s Mikayla Depuydt winds up for a pitch in the first inning of Tuesday night’s nightcap against Marquette in Gladstone. The Braves won both games as Christine Sharon and Depuydt combined to throw a no hitter in the opener.
"She's really been working on a drop ball in the off-season and it's been pretty effective so far this season against all teams that we've played," she said. "She's hitting her spots and when they do get hits usually they're low and in the infield, so that makes it easier for the defense to pick those balls up."
After going hitless in the opener, the Redettes struck first in the nightcap, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning off a Gladstone fielding error. The lead was short lived however as Gladstone piled on three runs in the bottom of the frame.
Sharon drew a walk, followed by a bunt from Sadie Strasser. Both runners advanced on a wild throw to first. Morgan Kowalski followed that by hitting a sacrifice fly that brought home Sharon and tied the game.
First baseman Jess Beaudry hit a bloop double down the left field line that scored Strasser. She advanced to third on a passed ball before being brought home on a sac fly from Lexi Hongisto that gave the Braves a 3-1 lead.
"The girls came out focused and were very patient at the plate and I was impressed at their discipline and their hitting was excellent from the very start; that and their base-running," Hughes noted. "(We were) Just taking advantage of mistakes on defense and capitalizing when it was most important."
The Redettes went three up and three down in the top half of the second inning as Depuydt and the Braves defense got into a groove. The Braves were held off the base-paths in the second inning as well.
Winling took over pitching duties in the top of the third, retiring all three Marquette batters with the aid of two put outs from Hongisto at shortstop.
"It was a strong game overall, everybody contributed in some way or another," Hughes said. "It helps the team energy as well. Everybody is getting on base and we're making plays defensively."
The Braves used a big third inning offensively to put the Redettes away. Beaudry ripped a single to center field, followed by a gap shot from Hongisto. Following that, Lauren Parrett reached first on an error before Beaudry took advantage of a throwing error to third base, giving Gladstone a 4-1 advantage.
On the next play, Hongisto scored on a wild pitch as the Braves stretched their lead to 5-1. MSHS head coach Paul Seibert said his team has to play a complete game to compete with Gladstone.
"I think it's just a lack of focus, and obviously the weather plays a part in that," Seibert said. "We always seem to have a bad inning against these guys. Again, it's just a mental issue. Talent-wise I think that we put a pretty good team on the field, but it was those mental things that hurt us again today."
Lauren Parrett scored the final run for Gladstone, which improved to 6-1 this season. The Braves are back in action Saturday as they travel to Howard City Tri County for their invitational.