HS Softball: Homer happy Big Blue handle Middies in season opener

Maddie Hall shared in the excitement of hitting the softball diamond on Monday for a season-opening game against Greater Miami Conference rival Middletown.

“We’re just built on hype,” the Hamilton High School junior said. “The more hype we are, the more the game comes out in our favor, and it just evolves.”

Hall laced a three-run homer that broke things open in the fourth inning, freshmen Reese Thieken and Emili Schappacher each blasted home runs of their own and the Big Blue handed the visiting Middies a 12-2 run-rule defeat in six innings.

Thieken got Hamilton (1-0) on the board with a solo shot in her first career high school at-bat in the second inning, and Schappacher followed that up the following inning with a two-run homer that put the Big Blue on top 3-0.

Hamilton cruised from there.

“When you have two freshmen and a couple of their first hits are home runs, that’s all right,” Big Blue coach Steve Heckman said. “For both of them, I had a bunt going early on in the count. But I took it off because it wasn’t right for the situation. Glad I did.”

Schappacher also debuted in the pitcher’s circle, striking out 10 batters and only giving up a hit to Middies junior Lilly Becraft in the fourth inning.

“Middletown is going to come out and hit,” Heckman said. “Emili may not have came out with the feel early — she really wasn’t spinning it like she can do. She started changing speeds there at the end, and she started to get them off balance a little bit. That’s the kind of pitcher she is. She knows what she’s doing out there. She’s going to battle and keep us in games.

“Overall, I’m very happy with what I saw,” Heckman added. “There are some things that we can clean up for sure, but once we’re in the season, we’re playing every day. We will clean some things up when we can.”

Thieken went 4-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, and Schappacher had two hits, three RBI and two runs scored. Hall was 3-for-4, including three RBI and three runs. Senior Katelyn Polido (3-for-3, three runs), senior Jaycee Taylor (two hits) and junior Hannah Reynolds (two hits, two RBI) contributed offensively for Hamilton, which has won the last two meetings against Middletown (0-1).

“Hamilton is a very skilled team,” Middies second-year coach Pat Spurlock said. “But we’re coming along. This is the start of the journey. We’ve got to get them to believe in themselves. It’s coming.”

Becraft led the fourth inning off with a single, and senior Monika Echegoyen walked the next at-bat. Both came around to score Middletown’s only runs.

“We’ve got to just come out and keep on rolling — get them some experience,” Spurlock said. “There’s not a team in the GMC that is as less ball experienced than us. I saw some things that I wanted to see out of them. I think we will be fine. Our plan is to shock some people.”

Hamilton added a run in the fifth when Taylor knocked in Polido, and then the Big Blue finished it off in the sixth.

“Everybody has their individual role on the team, and everybody knows that,” Hall said. “When it comes together, that’s when it really shows.”

“We’ve got a very solid team and a good foundation.”

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