SERENA — The Newark softball team was ready to go from the very first pitch against Serena during the teams’ Little Ten Conference opener here on Monday afternoon.
The Lady Norsemen, who grabbed the lead in the top of the first, pounded out 14 hits — including five for extra bases and four from leadoff hitter Alyssa Schofield — and received a complete-game effort in the circle from Sophie Schomer to ring up an 11-3 victory over the Lady Huskers.
Schomer earned the victory after allowing just one earned run, scattering six hits, walking two and fanning seven. Aside from Schofield’s great day at the plate, the Lady Norsemen also had Riane Tomsa collect three singles, Jocelyn Mitchell and Cassidy Adams stroke two hits each, and Rebecca Sweeney club a three-run home run. Mitchell and Tomsa finished with two RBIs.
Serena was paced by a single, double and RBI each by Susan Tuftie and Mackenzie Harris. Brianna Engel took the loss, allowing seven earned runs, walking one and striking out six.
“I really liked the fact that the girls were being aggressive at the plate,” said NHS coach Tim Schofield. “I know it’s still early in the season, but I’m on them constantly about hitting their pitch, especially early in the count. I want them to swing at the pitches that they want to hit and take advantage of the pitcher’s mistakes, and I felt we did that today. Going down looking is something I don’t like.”
Newark (2-1, 1-0) plated the game’s opening tally in the first when Tomsa’s two-out single drove in Mitchell. In the third, Schofield singled to center to start things, moved to second on a passed ball, stole third (her first of a trio of steals on the day) and scored on a throwing error.
Later in the frame, Tomsa knocked in Naomi Sweeney with her second hit of the day to make it 3-0.
“We have a lot of team speed, so I think it’s important that we take advantage of that and be real aggressive on the bases,” Coach Schofield said, his club racking up seven steals. “A couple times today (being aggressive) cost us, but those were on me.”
The visitors made it 7-0 in the fourth as Schofield doubled and scored on a Mitchell base hit, then after an error allowed Naomi Sweeney to reach Rebecca Sweeney blasted a home run down the left-field line and over the 201’ sign.
“Newark came out ready and hit the ball really well today, so credit them for that,” said Serena coach Kelly Baker. “They hit all the gaps and everything we hit seemed to go right at them, but they also made the plays. We didn’t play as aggressive as we did down in Jacksonville and were really flat. Schomer did a good job of keeping us off-balance, but we also weren’t as disciplined as we should have been.
“There were some positives today, but we also saw things we still need to work on.”
Serena (1-1, 0-1) solved Schomer in the fifth, as catcher Cheyenne Banister reached on an infield single, then courtesy runner Kallie Cantlin stole second and scored on Tuftie’s double to left.
Newark tacked on four more runs in the seventh to make it 11-1, as Kala’s one-out triple started the rally, with Schomer, Adams, Schofield and Mitchell driving in runs.
The Lady Huskers plated two in their half, with Tuftie and Harris lining run-scoring singles before Schomer struck out the final batter.
“Sometimes I’d like her to throw less strikes,” Coach Schofield said with a laugh about Schomer. “She is around the plate so much, and today was no different. She was a third team all-stater last season and has worked even harder to get better. We have all the confidence in the world when she is in the circle for us.”