LAPEL — The Lapel Bulldogs played their third softball game of the week Wednesday when Muncie Central came to town. But this doesn’t seem to be a tiring schedule for Lapel junior Sophie Cline, instead she seems energized.
Cline homered, doubled, and drove in five runs during an 11-run first inning and pitched five strong innings as Lapel powered past the Bearcats 16-2 at Lapel Wednesday.
Lapel improved to 6-4 on the season, while Muncie Central remained winless at 0-7.
Cline came up with one out and two aboard in the first and hammered a 3-1 pitch to straightaway left field for a three-run home run, her second in three days. Nine batters later, Cline batted again, this time with the bases loaded, and lined a double against the fence down the left field line for two more runs and a 9-0 lead. Junior Taylor Murdock followed with a two-run single to cap the inning.
Cline said the team’s busy schedule has helped with her timing, resulting in a week that has seen her go 5-10 with two homers and seven RBI in three days.
“I feel better,” she said. “It’s better to get back at it. I was struggling at first, but (I’m) seeing it better. It helps that we’re playing more and getting more games in with regular at-bats.”
Cline added a sixth RBI in the third, during which the Bulldogs scored five runs without the benefit of a hit. Lapel batters walked five times and took advantage of two Bearcat errors and a wild pitch to run up the score. Cline drove in one when she was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
On the mound, Cline pitched all five innings, allowing just five hits and two walks while striking out three. She retired the side in order twice to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Lapel has now won six of its past eight since a rough 0-2 start. Coach Scott Rich said he realizes that Muncie Central is not a true test for his Bulldogs but is seeing signs of continued improvement.
“Some very good things come out of this; (Sophie) found her groove at the plate and in the circle,” he said. “We had a chance to get some kids in the game who don’t normally play much, and they did well. It was a good day. We still have too many downs; we very easily should have had that Madison-Grant game. We’re turning the corner, but we’ve still got work to do.”
The Bulldogs will host Wes-Del at 5 p.m. Friday.
On Tuesday in Gas City, Mississinewa pounded Lapel pitching for 12 hits and scored in five of their six at-bats to hand the Bulldogs a 7-3 loss.
Sophomore Chloe Bousman started and took the loss, lasting just four innings, allowing 10 hits and six earned runs.
Junior Taylor Murdock hit two triples to drive in a run and scored twice for Lapel (5-4). Freshman Megan Sundheimer drove in two runs, and sophomore Kylie Rich added a pair of hits for the Bulldogs.
Lapel will host Muncie Central at 5:30 on Wednesday.