Well-timed hits, strong defense grant G-E-T softball playoff win

            Outfielder Haley Giemza tracked down a fly ball in right field during a 6-1 regional playoff win for the G-E-T softball team over Aquinas at G-E-T Middle School.  (Times photograph by Benjamin Pierce) 

Through two innings last Friday, the Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau High School softball team needed a spark.

The Red Hawks got it with a bases-clearing double from junior Tatum Johnson in the third inning, a hit that helped seventh-seeded G-E-T to a 6-1 regional playoff win over 10th-seeded Aquinas at G-E-T Middle School.

A trip to play second-seeded Prescott (18-5 this season) was next for coach Nate DeJager and G-E-T (9-13) this Tuesday.

“We’ve had issues this year of getting runners on base and not being able to drive them in, so that was a really huge hit,” the coach said of Johnson’s double that made it 3-0.

DeJager’s team played tight defense to keep the Blugolds (7-15) off the base paths for the most part on Friday. Aquinas was limited to four hits.

A big part of that was senior Shayna Kirkey, whose day on the mound saw a complete game stat line of four strikeouts to two walks while allowing one earned run.

Kirkey said she was happy with her pitches as well as her team’s effort behind her, especially after Aquinas scored in the top of the sixth inning to cut G-E-T’s lead to 5-1.

“It’s amazing having your team back you up like that. It can get nerve-racking once the other team starts knocking them in again,” Kirkey said, “but I know I have a great team behind me to make plays.”

Offense was no concern for G-E-T on Friday, as the home team collected 10 hits in their six trips to the plate. 

Halene DeJager led the way for the Red Hawks by hitting 3-for-4 with three RBI. 

A hit from the sophomore in the bottom of the fourth inning scored teammates Kirkey and Lily Graham to give G-E-T a 5-0 lead, and it was a double from DeJager in the bottom of the sixth inning that matched Aquinas’ lone run minutes before.

“It just felt great,” Halene DeJager said of her approach at the plate. “I was just on it, so it was great.”

Kirkey added two hits for G-E-T, which had seven different players record a hit.

“We’ve got to want to hit the ball, and the last few games that’s what we’ve done,” Kirkey said. “It’s worked for us.”

If the Red Hawks want to upset Prescott this week, they know it’s going to take another team effort and a consistent approach.

Their coach thinks it’s possible if they play the way they are capable.

“We need to just play our game,” DeJager said. “If Shay throws the way she did tonight, throws strikes, and we make the plays on defense, we think we can play with just about anybody.”

G-E-T 10 Luther 8

The Red Hawks (6-6 Coulee Conference) closed the regular season last Monday with a conference game that saw a plethora of scoring.

The Red Hawks scored seven runs between the third and fourth innings to overcome an early 5-2 deficit to the Knights (13-8, 6-6 Coulee).

Caroline Mack hit 3-for-4 for the visiting Red Hawks. De Jager, Johnson and senior Maggie Bistodeau all had two hits apiece.

Kirkey again went the distance, allowing seven hits. She finished with seven strikeouts and the same number of walks.

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