Two days after being plagued by a slew of errors in a pair of losses to Garden City, the Hays High softball team bounced back with a near flawless defensive showing against Dodge City.
The Indians committed just one error on the day, earning a doubleheader split and handing the Red Demons their first loss of the season on Thursday at Dusty Glassman Ball Park.
Hays High dropped the first game 6-2 before rebounding with a 7-6 win in the nightcap.
It was a drastic turnaround defensively for the Indians, who were charged with a total of 20 errors in the Garden City losses.
“I told the girls I’m not really sure who played on Tuesday but that wasn’t us,” Hays High coach Erin Wagner said. “Today is the team that I see every day in practice.”
Hays High (3-3) came through in key moments in the field and at the plate in Game 2, knocking Dodge City to 7-1 on the season.
“We did have the poise to come back when things didn’t go exactly how we wanted them,” Wagner said. “We also really took advantage of our successes. We didn’t just settle for being up just one run. We were always looking for the opportunity.
“Definitely pleased with the way they bounced back and the energy and the fight that they had today.”
After taking the first game, Dodge City went up 2-0 in the first inning before Hays got on the board with Jaysa Wichers’ solo home run in the bottom of the second.
The Indians went in front in the third after a two-run double from Madelyn Waddell and they tacked on another run off a Dodge error. Hays added two more in the fifth to open up a 6-2 lead after another Red Demons’ error and an RBI single from Cassidy Prough.
Dodge rallied with three runs in the top of the sixth but Hays came up with a key insurance run in the bottom of the inning. The Indians got three straight singles from Brenna Schwien, McKinley Wamser and Macee Altman, whose hit pushed the lead to 7-5.
“We had some key hits,” Wagner said. “Brenna Schwien came up huge in the bottom of the sixth. Just being a freshman, she’s taking her opportunities and getting good hacks at the plate.”
After an infield single to start the seventh, Wichers notched a strikeout and then forced a groundout. Dodge made it a one-run game on the Indians’ lone error of the day but Wichers coaxed another groundout to end the game.
Wichers threw every pitch for the Indians in the doubleheader. She allowed 14 hits in the second game but found ways to minimize the damage.
“Jaysa has a lot of determination and a lot of pride in what she does,” Wagner said. “I know she was tired; she’s thrown a lot of innings this week. But as I checked in with her after every inning, she kept telling me she wanted the ball so we kept giving her the ball.”
In the first game, Dodge took control with a three-run third and added three more in the sixth to build a 6-0 lead. Raegan Lopp earned the win, allowing two runs and eight hits while striking out seven.
Kaitlyn Brown had three hits for the Indians in Game 1, while Altman, Waddell and Prough each had two in the second game as part of a 12-hit attack for Hays.
The Indians won’t play again until April 12, facing Colby on the road.
“Dodge is a good program so being able to play well against them and get a win gives us the confidence to know that we can hang with just about anybody when we have the will to win," Wagner said.