Message Received; UCCS Sweeps Kearney

By Doug Fitzgerald published April 15, 2006

Message received.

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball coach Scott Peterson challenged a couple of his players after Fridayâ€TMs split with the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers. It was the coachâ€TMs contention that the players were not producing at the level at which they were capable.

But while Peterson called out two players, it was the entire team that answered the challenge Saturday as the Mountain Lions not only received, but also sent a message by sweeping Nebraska-Kearney 10-7 and 12-3.

“Yesterday I challenged Sonia Reyes and Sarah Brisky,” said Peterson. “I told them that ‘youâ€TMre better than what youâ€TMve been doing lately; itâ€TMs time to step it up.â€TM”

They did exactly that. Reyes went 2-for-6 including a two-run home run in Game 2 that put the run rule in play.

“Iâ€TMve been in a little hole and coach knows Iâ€TMm better than that so he got on us,” said Reyes, who made a point of crediting assistant coach Tanya Ramsay. “I worked with Tanya on my swing right before my at bats. I felt like I was a little more relaxed.”

But on the home run, Reyes said she could hear nothing but the encouragement of her teammates.

“All the girls are so supportive. Hearing my team have so much confidence in me sparked something in me,” said Reyes. “I didnâ€TMt even think of hitting it out, I just wanted to hit the ball hard.”

Brisky, meanwhile, went 4-for-6 with three RBIs. Of her four hits, one went to left field, one went up the middle and two went to right field.

“Iâ€TMve been seeing the ball really well and I just try to go with the pitch,” said Brisky.

While the normally mild-mannered Peterson was a bit sheepish about his challenge, he believed it served its purpose.

“They may not have liked the way I did it but I think I got their attention,” said Peterson. “Those two were absolutely sensational.”

So were the rest of the Mountain Lions. Janine Ota was the hitting star Saturday, going 6-for-7 with six RBIs. Lindsay Shandera was 4-for-5 with three RBIs and four runs scored. Brittni Carlson chipped in a 3-for-7 performance while Brianna Workman, Sarah Cleland and Savannah Ledford added two hits each.

Ota went 3-for-4 with a double and a home run in the opener. She followed by going 3-for-3, all singles, in the nightcap. The senior drove in three runs in each game and improved her season batting average to .436.

Amanda Ritchie (18-2) was far from overpowering in the opener, allowing seven runs, three earned, on 10 hits and three walks. Despite being less than 100 percent physically, the senior was able to rise to the occasion when needed, stranding nine Lopers baserunners.

Angie Heronema allowed eight hits and four walks in five innings. Heronema (6-4) was able to keep the ball down, limiting Nebraska-Kearney to just one extra-base hit. Most of the Lopers hits went through the infield, which kept them running station-to-station and unable to take the extra base. Heronema also started two double plays.

But while it was no work of art, Heronemaâ€TMs performance showed guts. After getting hit hard in her previous two performances, the freshman kept one of the RMACâ€TMs best hitting teams contained.

“I definitely had to make some adjustments,” said Heronema. “I think I did that. I had to make sure I hit my spots and make my ball move.”

The Mountain Lions got six hits, including a two-run homer by Shandera, to post a five-run first inning in the opener. Otaâ€TMs two-run single in the second and an RBI double by Shandera in the third staked UCCS to an 8-3 lead.

Nebraska-Kearney (20-14, 17-10 RMAC) answered with runs in the fourth and fifth innings and two more in the sixth. During that span, UCCS got solo homers by Ota in the fourth and Ledford in the sixth.

Breanna Bowers (8-6) took both losses. Although the Lopersâ€TM three pitchers all saw significant action, Bowers was charged with the decision in all four games in the series.

UCCS again took an early lead in Game 2 with a three-run first inning. That lead grew to 6-1 in the third inning on a two-run single by Ota and an RBI single by Brisky.

Kelsey Smithâ€TMs two-run single in the fourth got Kearney to within three, but UCCS blew the game open in the bottom half of the inning. Cleland started the barrage with a three-run homer. Three batters later, Brisky single another run in and Reyes followed with her two-run shot to left field.

Heronema held the Lopers scoreless in the fifth to end the game by way of the NCAAâ€TMs eight-run mercy rule.

The Mountain Lions (30-7, 19-7 RMAC) took three wins in the four-game series. UCCS now trails Colorado State-Pueblo by just one game for second place in the RMAC. The two teams will play an important doubleheader Wednesday at Mountain Lion Field.

“Thereâ€TMs a lot of ball to be played yet,” said Peterson. “(CSU-Pueblo coach) Shane (Showalter) knows that as well. As always, heâ€TMll have his kids ready and weâ€TMll have our kids ready. Itâ€TMs going to be exciting with a great atmosphere and a beautiful night.

“Hopefully, weâ€TMll get the job done.”

And thatâ€TMs the next message to be sent.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Sonia ReyesSonia Reyes13IFSo.
Sonia ReyesSonia Reyes133BJr.
Sonia ReyesSonia Reyes133BSR
Lindsay ShanderaLindsay Shandera20IF/OFFr.
Lindsay ShanderaLindsay Shandera201BSo.
Lindsay ShanderaLindsay Shandera201BJr.
Lindsay ShanderaLindsay Shandera201BSr.
Janine OtaJanine Ota10OF
Amanda RitchieAmanda Ritchie17PJr.
Amanda RitchieAmanda Ritchie17PJr.
Angie HeronemaAngie Heronema1P
Savannah LedfordSavannah Ledford24SS
Brianna WorkmanBrianna Workman4OFFr.
Brianna WorkmanBrianna Workman4OFFr.
Brianna WorkmanBrianna Workman4OFFr.
Brianna WorkmanBrianna Workman4OFFr.
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