Prep softball: Rockets pummel Cougars

RAPID RIVER – Rapid River’s Dominque Pavlat fell a double short of hitting for the cycle, and that was just in the second inning.

The Rockets erupted for 17 hits and 16 runs during the second inning of the nightcap in Wednesday’s doubleheader against Superior Central, eventually winning 19-5 in four innings.

“The second inning basically left me speechless,” said Rapid River head coach George Kanyuh.

“You don’t see that kind of an onslaught in men’s slow-pitch. “It was just contagious. We’ve been telling these girls all along they’re an awesome bunch and good things happen when you put the bat on the ball.”

The Rockets have been putting the bat on the ball a lot lately. Rapid edged the Cougars 8-3 in Wednesday’s opener, a night after sweeping Stephenson 25-0 and 15-0.

“Obviously as a coach I’m all smiles right now,” Kanyuh said. “To say the bats came alive the last couple of nights would be an understatement.”

Pavlat got the Rockets offense started in the second inning as she smacked a triple. That was the start of 11 straight Rapid River hits, as they erased an early 3-2 deficit and poured on eight runs before Superior Central recorded an out.

The Rockets blasted four triples in the inning before Pavlat hit a two-run bomb over the center field wall, giving Rapid a 19-3 advantage. Brooke Pasanen took the loss for Superior Central, which was 7-0 prior to Wednesday’s match-up. Cougars’ head coach Richard Swajanen said the score wasn’t reflective of where his team is at.

“She wasn’t pitching all that bad,” he said of Pasanen. “The hits were finding the holes and a few fly balls could have been caught out there. We’ve got to get back on the field and fix it.

“I think we can get it together here. I don’t think we’re what that scoreboard said.”

Erika Schwartz picked up the win in game two as she held the Cougars to five runs on six hits. Savannah Stenlund picked up the win in the opener, as she limited Superior Central to six hits and two runs, while striking out 13.

Erica Rubick also played a big role Wednesday. The Rockets held a 1-0 lead in the second inning before she ripped a two-out, three-run homer over the left-center wall to extend Rapid’s lead to 4-0. Kanyuh said he was impressed with the play of Rubick, a freshman, who hit her first varsity home run.

“They’re facing 18 year old pitchers, they’re facing hitters that really crack the ball and to step up and hit a three run homer that puts your team up 4-0 in the second inning of a big game against a good team, oh yeah, that’s a major confidence booster for her,” he noted.

Rapid River improves to 5-2 after Wednesday’s wins. Superior Central drops to 7-2. The Cougars are back in action next Wednesday as they travel to Munising. Rapid River heads down to Boyne City on Saturday.

Molly Swajanen hit a home run for Superior Central in the first game. The Cougars were missing two starters due to injury. Rapid River was also without starting centerfielder Maddy Moss, due to a hand injury.

“I know we’re not going to do it every game but what a springboard for the rest of the year,” Kanyuh said. “Now these kids know that against a good team, good players and good pitching what we can do.”