Depuydt, Braves dominate

GLADSTONE – The Gladstone softball team braved the harsh weather long enough to sweep the Marquette Redettes in their home opener doubleheader Wednesday.

Gladstone won the opener 9-4 before the Braves shut out Marquette 7-0 in the second game, due in large part to an outstanding pitching effort by Mikayla Depuydt. She had three strikeouts and no walks through five innings of work.

“She definitely had the most control of any pitcher out there today,” said Marquette coach Paul Seibert. “I think the cold weather affected the pitchers the most, because they have to be able to feel their fingers to throw good pitches. But Depuydt really threw a nice game.”

Gladstone got their first runs in the second inning when Christine Sharon hit an inside-the-park home run. That shot drove in two runs, and the Braves were up 3-0.

The Redettes followed up, getting two runners on base. However, Depuydt struck out Hannah Johnson to retire the side and leave the runners stranded.

“I was really, really happy with the way she pitched,” said Braves coach Gerry Smith. “She had to take part in the talent show tonight too, but she was having such a good time, I didn’t want to pull her. She pitched an excellent five innings.”

Gladstone (4-1) struck again in the third inning when Nicole Norman got a base hit that knocked in two more runs and extended the lead to 5-0.

Marquette’s first batter of the fourth inning hit a line drive directly into the shin of Depuydt, but instead of wincing in pain, she picked up the ball and threw out the runner at first base. Then, as she rubbed her leg, she turned to her dugout and smiled.

“Way to make the play!” her coach yelled.

The Redettes nearly avoided the shutout in the fourth when Whitney LaFave crushed the ball deep toward center field for a double. She was able to advance to third base, but Marquette had two outs and the play at first beat the runner and retired the side.

Senja Liimatta took over pitching duties for Marquette in the bottom of the fourth. She had a rough start, giving up back-to-back walks. Then Lexi Hongisto drove both runners in on a single to push the Braves ahead to 7-0 and score the final runs of the contest.

“I think we did alright, considering the conditions,” Smith said. “Especially in the second game. We hit the ball well. Marquette made a few mistakes for us too, but we did hit the ball well today.”

Seibert agreed with that notion, saying that part of it was their lack of being able to practice outdoors due to the weather.

“No excuses though,” he said. “A lot of it was due to our infield play. We can’t make mistakes against a team like this, and we did. But we’re just going to fix those things, and work towards getting better.”

Marquette had two hits, while Gladstone finished with five. Morgan Seibert of Marquette walked four and struck out two.

In the first game, Marquette struck first, but Gladstone got their bats going and earned themselves a 5-4 lead. That was when Jordan Kowalski smacked a two-run home run to make it 7-4. Morgan Kowalski applied the finishing touches, driving in two more runners for the 9-4 victory.

Both teams resume Friday; Gladstone hosts Peshtigo, Wis., while Marquette heads to Alpena.