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Pair of one-hitters triggers Goddard sweep

Published May 2 at 10:30 p.m. | Last updated May 2 at 10:32 p.m.

The Goddard softball players understood the difficulties Maize had at the plate against the Lions’ pitchers, junior Megan Graf and sophomore Julisa Ortega, Friday night.

“They hit their spots really good. We hit against them all the time (in practice),” Goddard sophomore right fielder Brianna Fuchs said. “They help us out so much. We’re glad to have them.”

Graf and Ortega threw a pair of one-hitters as Goddard swept visiting Maize 9-1, 4-0 to improve to 14-0. Maize is 6-4.

“My pitchers just did a great job, keeping them off base,” Goddard coach Rita Smith said. “… Megan Graf throws a little bit harder than Julisa, but when Julisa’s on, her movement can be a little bit better. And her lankiness can be deceptive.”

Graf had 12 strikeouts, while Ortega had eight.

“We know (Maize has) pretty good, strong hitters,” Graf said. “My outside pitches (were working) and just blowing it right past them. They were swinging it pretty hard, but their hands weren’t moving.”

The offensive struggles frustrated the Eagles.

Maize coach Jenny Meirowsky planned a Saturday practice to return to hitting fundamentals, especially working off the tee.

“I saw a lot of not-good swings,” she said. “We have Monday, Tuesday games, so we’re going to have a good practice this weekend and get back to the fundamentals. Hopefully we get back in some good rhythm.”

Maize had some chances in Game 2 with leadoff walks in the first and fourth innings. But Ortega, whose changeup was especially on, got the next three batters out each time.

“All I kept saying the whole game was, ‘come on, somebody start it.’ … We never had that person step up and hit the ball hard,” Meirowsky said.

Ortega has an advantage in games because she can watch what the opponents’ hitters do against Graf.

“I look up to her a lot,” Ortega said. “I watch, see what the other batters do with her balls.”

Goddard has a potent offense, and in the first inning of Game 1, Morgan Bohanan hit a two-RBI double to give Graf the early lead. Bohanan added two more RBIs in the third for the 4-0 lead. She finished 3 for 3.

The Lions added four runs in the bottom of the sixth, with two coming on Miranda Rohleder’s single, and two more on Graf’s triple.

“After the fourth run we have on them, it gets in my head, ‘oh, we got this,’” Graf said.

The hits — Goddard had eight in the first game — didn’t come as easily in the second game against Maize pitcher Caitlyn Randolph.

Through three innings, Randolph had faced two more than the minimum, and she gave up three hits total.

But in the fourth, Rohleder led off with a single, got a steal and then Bohanan reached when she was hit by a pitch. Rohleder got another steal and then scored on Kayli Nikkel’s sacrifice. Bohanan scored on a pickoff attempt when she was at third.

“We didn’t adjust to the second pitcher,” Smith said. “We had to manufacture a run … stealing some bases, putting down a bunt.”

Goddard’s final two runs came on an inside-the-park home run by Fuchs.

Goddard 9, Maize 1

Maize00001001 1 2
Goddard202014x9 8 1

W — Graf. L — Grimes.

Goddard 4, Maize 0

Maize00000000 1 3
Goddard000220x4 3 1

W — Ortega. L — Randolph. HR — Fuchs, Goddard.

Goddard junior pitcher Megan Graf

Goddard sophomore pitcher Julisa Ortega

Goddard sophomore Brianna Fuchs

Goddard coach Rita Smith