On a very brisk afternoon with a rapidly swirling wind chilling to the bone, the Chelsea Bulldogs hosted Parma Western to open their Softball season in front of many loyal fans that braved the elements. But it was well worth the climate battle as the Bulldogs fought back in game 1 to take an 8-6 victory and shutout Western in the second game 11-0 to complete the sweep.
The Bulldogs first inning did not go as planned as Western was able to rack up a big 4-0 lead after their first at-bat, fueled by Western’s starting pitcher Taylor Nichols 2 run home run. But the Bulldogs came right back and scored two runs of their own behind solid hitting and alert base running by Sydnee Liedel and Hannah Kahler.
Western added two more runs in the second and although down by 4 runs the Bulldogs did not give up, whittling away, hit by hit, to try to take the lead and achieve victory. In the fifth inning they scored two runs to pull within one but in the 6th they exploded for 3 runs, led by Liedel, Kahler, and Sydney Hines who all scored for the Bulldogs.
With an 8-6 lead, Bulldogs pitcher Peighton Root retired the side for the huge come from behind victory. The sophomore Root started out a bit slow but after two shaky innings went on to keep Western from scoring anymore, along with a solid defense behind her. Root finished with the win and 7 strikeouts of Western.
After a brief intermission and warming up period for many of the players and fans, it was sophomore pitcher Maddie Kemp getting the call to start in her very first varsity game also. The cold didn’t stand a chance and neither did Western as the red hot pitcher found her mark and came away with a complete game shutout, only giving up 2 hits and getting 11 strikeouts!
“I’m just happy I was able to help my team sweep the double header”, an elated Kemp said.
Kemp helped her own cause out with a big bat, getting a big double and then scoring on hits by Phoebe Kahler and Liedel. An inning later it Was Grace Bush blasting a triple to the opposite field and then Kemp singling her home to increase the Bulldog lead. Up 9-0 going into the 6th and hoping for the mercy rule, Kahler was walked making her way on to base for the 4th time in the nightcap. Then it was Autumn Johnson taking her turn at the plate. Her bat had been unstoppable in game two and she didn’t let up at all as she blasted a huge walk-off home run over the left centerfield fence to mercy Western and take the series.
“I’m so proud of our team,” Head Coach Jeff Connelly said with a big smile on his face. “They never gave up in the first game. They kept their spirits up and kept battling back. ”
Chelsea will play host Thursday to Milan at 5 o’clock.