Softball Gillett/Suring rallies for conference win

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Young’s clutch hit leads co-op

Greg Bates, Times Herald Correspondent

Sydney Young was settling into a groove in the circle.

The sophomore pitcher for the Gillett/Suring softball team was throwing well. But it was her timely hitting that made all the difference.

Young broke a tie game with a two-run triple in the fifth inning as Gillett/Suring downed Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas Academy 7-4 on May 17 in Gillett.

“This is a big win,” Young said. “This is the first home game that we’ve won, and getting it right before playoffs is pretty great.”

After giving up three hits in the opening inning, Young settled in and gave up just two hits the rest of the way. She retired the final 10 batters she faced.

Gillett/Suring coach Mike Umentum knows it generally takes Young about 30 pitches to get in a groove.

“It takes her a little while to warm up. Then she starts finding her spots,” Umentum said.

Young pitched confidently, especially after getting the lead.

Lena/STAA (5-5, 3-3 Marinette & Oconto Conference) scored a pair of runs in the first inning as Marley Carviou stroked an RBI double to get the Cavalettes going. Lena/STAA added two more runs in the third inning to go up 4-0.

That’s when the Gillett/Suring bats heated up. Carrie Griffin reached on an error to start the third, and Sophie Horsens doubled. Angel Griffin had a sacrifice bunt to plate the other Griffin to get the Hornets on the board. Emily Umentum hit a single to bring in Horsens. One batter later, Faith Sorlie came around to score on the second Lena/STAA error of the inning.

“They had four hits and bet you we had eight errors,” Lena/STAA coach Cindy Powers said. “It’s the upperclassmen that shouldn’t be making errors that killed us.

“That’s the worst game we’ve played all year.”

Gillett/Suring (6-3, 4-2) tied the game in the fourth as Paige Krueger led off the inning with a single and came around to score.

With all the momentum on the Hornets’ side, the home team capitalized. Umentum had an infield single, and Sorlie singled to bring up Young with nobody out.

“I just sat back in the batter’s box, and in my head I’m like, ‘I’m just going to watch it go in.’ And it was just the right at-bat to get us going,” Young said.

Young – who was moved from her customary No. 5 and 6 spots into the cleanup position for the game — got a low pitch from Carviou and drove it to right-center field to score two runs and give Gillett/Suring its first lead. Taylor Yonker grounded to first base, and Young beat the throw to the plate to put the Hornets up 7-4.

In the final two innings, Young calmly retired the last six batters in order to preserve the victory.

“Once we had the good hits and we started to get the bats going, it’s like you get that much more confidence on defense,” said Young, who finished with two of her team’s eight hits.

Coach Umentum was happy to see his girls pull out the comeback win after digging themselves an early deficit.

“I was proud of the girls today. They battled, and they gave up a few runs,” Umentum said. “The first inning’s always a little shaky for us.”

“We started hitting the ball today,” he continued. “It’s been a few games since we’ve hit the ball.”

Both Gillett/Suring and Lena/STAA will now get ready for the playoffs. Gillett/Suring, the No. 6 seed in a Division 3 regional, will travel to No. 3-seeded Peshtigo on Wednesday. That same day, No. 2-seeded Lena/STAA will host the winner of No. 7 Bowler vs. No. 10 Oneida Nation in a Division 5 regional game.

With Gillett/Suring earning the regular-season victory over Lena/STAA, the Hornets hope to continue their strong play into the postseason.

“It carries a lot of momentum going into Peshtigo, especially losing to them last year,” Young said. “But having this much confidence now, I think we’re going to do good.”

“If we can go into Wednesday and keep hitting the ball – their pitcher is just about the same speed,” Umentum said. “She’s not real accurate all the time. So if we stay patient, hit strikes and play good defense, we’ll be OK. That’s 99 percent of the game is defense.”