CHEYENNE – It took Cheyenne East one trip through the batting order to adjust to Wheatland starter Bailey Fitzwater.
The floodgates opened once the No. 4-ranked Lady Thunderbirds got their timing down. East erupted for nine runs on 10 hits over the final two innings of a 10-0 victory Saturday morning.
“We’re used to faster pitchers, and we all get really anxious when we face slower pitchers,” said East second baseman Ella Neider, who was 2 for 3 with a double and three RBIs. “We all get really anxious, and try to swing really hard.
“It takes us a while to adjust and get the timing down against slower pitchers. We got our confidence up and got really aggressive.”
East (9-6 overall, 7-3 East Conference) scratched across its first run in the second inning. First baseman Emily Schlagel singled up the middle to lead off the frame, and she eventually scored on a groundout to first off the bat of left fielder Jaylyn McMahon.
The T-Birds took control in the third. Pitcher Ariana Galicia pulled a one-out single to right field, and then advanced to third on a double down the left field line off the bat of catcher Trista Stehwien. Galicia scored on a throwing error to put East up 2-0.
Schlagel plated two runs with a two-out double to right-center that scored Stehwien and Gracie Oswald for a 4-0 lead. Schlagel scored on Neider’s single up the middle, and the T-Birds took a 5-0 lead into the fourth.
“We weren’t as disciplined at the plate as we needed to be,” East coach Adam Galicia said. “Ariana started off with a pretty good cut to lead it off, but the second baseman made a good play.
“After that, we were swinging at balls three feet before they reached the plate. We were out in front of everything and not getting good contact.”
The T-Birds added five more runs on six hits in the fourth. The game ended after five frames due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Schlagel went 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs, while Oswald also drove home two runs. Stehwien was 2 for 3 at the plate. Right fielder Jozlyn West’s lone hit of the morning was a one-out triple to deep left field in the fourth inning.
Ariana Galicia got the start in the pitcher’s circle for East. She went the distance, allowing just two hits and striking out nine. Singles from second baseman Emma McGee and third baseman Celi Rivero were the only balls that left the infield. The T-Birds also did not commit a defensive error.
“The wind wasn’t conducive to Ariana’s curveball, but she got her screwball and rise ball working,” Adam Galicia said. “Defensively, I knew we’d be OK, and we played really well.
“We’re still not where we want to be overall, but we’re getting there.”
EAST 10, WHEATLAND 0 (5)
Wheatland……………………………………………………………………… 000 00 – 0 2 3
Cheyenne East………………………………………………………………… 014 5X – 10 11 0
Wheatland pitching: Fitzwater and Coates. Cheyenne East pitching: Galicia and Stehwien.
W: Galicia (5-2). L: Fitzwater.
2B: Cheyenne East 3 (Schlagel, Stehwien, Neider). 3B: Cheyenne East 1 (West).