After 15 days in between games, the Hays High softball team didn’t have a problem knocking off the rust, posting a solid 8-3 win to open Friday’s doubleheader with Great Bend.
Sustaining the momentum for Game 2 was more of an issue for the Indians, who dropped a 5-0 decision in the nightcap to result in a split for the Indians on senior day at Dusty Glassman Ball Park.
Hays moved to 4-4 overall and 2-4 in Western Athletic Conference play.
“The first game we had a good outing," Hays High coach Erin Wagner said. "We had a lot of energy, we attacked at the plate really well. I was very proud of the way we played defense and the way Jaysa (Wichers) threw. Second game was just a different story.”
The Panthers plated three runs in the top of the first inning of game one but the Indians scored eight unanswered.
Hays evened the score at 3 in the bottom of the second behind home runs from Wichers and McKinley Wamser. Wichers hit a solo shot and, following a single from MacKenzie Fagan, the freshman Wamser delivered her first career home run to tie it at 3.
“That was an awesome moment,” Wagner said of Wamser’s homer. “I have never seen a kid smile from ear to ear bigger than she did as she rounded the bases."
Wamser gave the Indians the lead with an RBI sacrifice fly in the third and Hays tacked on four insurance runs in the sixth. Madelyn Waddell had an RBI single before Wichers drove in two more with a double.
Wichers and Fagan each had three hits in the first game while Waddell had two.
After getting off to a rocky start that included a leadoff home run to Aleah Urban, Wichers bounced back from the three-run first frame to post six consecutive scoreless innings in the circle. She surrendered two earned runs, six hits and one walk while striking out five.
“It just took a little time for her to settle in,” Wagner said. “Once she got going, things were working well for her. We haven’t played in 14 days, so that takes its toll. Overall, I think Jaysa had a very good day.”
The Indians were back in action for the first time since April 4. The long layoff was partly due to a postponed doubleheader with Colby that was scheduled for April 12.
“I think the monotony of practice can sometimes take its toll on a team, but at the same time, we have to come out focused and ready to play,” Wagner said.
The Indians struggled to solve Great Bend pitcher Shanaeia Mehlhaff in Game 2, managing five hits. Hays High left the bases loaded in the sixth and stranded two more in the seventh.
“I just think the way we attacked the plate in our at-bats was a lot different in the second game,” Wagner said. “We need to attack more like we were in the first game, being prepared early in the count and not getting so deep in counts.”
The Indians will be on the road for the rest of the season, with six more doubleheaders left to play. Hays will play at Abilene on Monday before taking part in a triangular at Thomas More-Prep Marian on Thursday.
“I think the next few games we’ll be playing will be a positive thing,” Wagner said. “A lot of reps and consistency will help us as we go into the postseason.”