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Cougars dominate Norwalk in season opener

By JOE GILROY • Updated Mar 26, 2018 at 11:15 PM

NORWALK — The groundskeepers got a little extra work in on Monday at the Norwalk softball diamond.

Some last-minute adjustments to the distance from third base to home, and the pitcher’s circle to home plate were made at Norwalk High School.

Norwalk’s (0-1) first game of the season was delayed 25 minutes because of the adjustments, but finished ahead of schedule when Crestview (1-0) run-ruled to a 16-2 victory after five innings.

Freshman Autumn Bailey led the game off by slapping a triple for Crestview. She finished the day with two triples, a double, and four runs scored in a debut to remember. Kylie Ringer added two hits in four at bats and led Crestview with four runs batted in.

“It’s a great way to start the season,” Crestview coach Aaron Goon said. “We put the bat on the ball and the girls did a good job of finding the openings and hitting the ball into them and we had a freshman (Bailey) leading off and getting two triples and a double in her first game, that’s incredible.

Norwalk had trouble in the field and extended innings on several occasions because of misjudging the ball on miscues. When the Truckers made a mistake, Crestview was right there to capitalize and turn them into runs on the scoreboard.

“We haven’t had a lot of time to practice outdoors because of the weather, but whenever we could we have,” Norwalk coach Julie Schmidt said. “I really wasn’t expecting a score like that, but we made too many errors — and when you do not make the routine plays, you give our opponent another chance. They did a great job of turning them into runs.”

Skyler Hughes drove in a run and scored on an error to account for both Trucker scores as they struggled hitting Kaitlyn Hunt.

Hunt struck out nine and allowed just one earned run in her five-inning complete game that took just 67 pitches to accomplish. She kept the Norwalk batters at bay going exclusively with a curveball and high fastball.

“They are a good team and the pitcher kept us off balance all game long,” Schmidt said. “She was using a high-rise pitch that we just weren’t able to hit. If the weather holds up, we play two more times this week and we can see how much we improve.

“I do think that the score was worse than what we played today,” she added. “If we just make the routine plays the score is a lot different and maybe we can start a run in those last two innings.”

Carissa Conrad pitched 3 1/3 innings for the Truckers, striking out two and throwing nine first pitch strikes in the loss. Lexi Gendry pitched for an inning in relief of Conrad and finished with a strikeout.

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