Dana Gertchen gave her team a double-threat spark, coming through at the plate and in the circle.
The Marathon junior ignited her team offensively with a three-run home run in the top of the first inning, then later came on in relief to secure a 15-8 victory over Assumption during Marawood Conference South Division game on a cool and soggy Thursday evening.
Marathon improved to 5-0 in the conference and 5-2 overall, while Assumption suffered its first loss of the season, slipping to 3-1 overall and in the league.
“The pitch was a little higher in the zone than normal and more than I liked, but hey, I’m not going to complain at all,” Gertchen said of her home run. “I took it and went with it and it went over the fence.
“I think it sparked a lot of things with my team. It gave us confidence that even though Assumption is a good team, that we could do it.”
Added Marathon second baseman Bailey Seubert, who had four hits, “We started out in the first inning with a home run and that carried down the line. We saw the ball off (Assumption pitcher Megan Buntrock’s) hip the whole game and that helped us out.”
The Raiders pounded out 18 hits, including four for extra bases, but Assumption got its fair share of hits, finishing with 10.
The Royals also had a home run, a two-run blast that just stayed fair down the first base line, during a three-run fourth inning that gave Assumption an 8-5 lead, which prompted Marathon coach Chad Thurs to pull starting pitcher Bria Jahnke and bring in Gertchen.
“We hit the ball extremely well in the beginning, hitting line shots and driving the ball well,” Assumption coach Mandy Turba said. “We got away from that at the end.”
If Marathon’s six-hit, six-run sixth inning wasn’t enough insurance, the Raiders added four more in the top of the seventh to put the game our of reach. The Raiders got 11 of their 18 hits in the final two innings.
“I think the biggest thing was that we answered,” Thurs said. “(Assumption) evened it up and took the lead and we as a team responded to that. We answered with big hits and big plays in the field and Dana answered with her pitching.”
Assumption wasn’t able to find an answer for Gertchen, who gave up just two hits and no runs.
“They’re a good hitting team and found the holes and took control of the game,” Turba said. “Besides today, I’ve been very happy with our hitting and fielding. All-around, we’ve done well with both, but today we had a little hiccup with our fielding in the later innings.”
WP: Dana Gertchen. LP: Megan Buntrock. SO: Gertchen 2, Bria Jankne 3; Buntrock 4. BB: Gertchen 2, Jahnke 4; Buntrock 3. 2B: M, Emily Kind 2, Bailey Seubert; A, Brittney Birkhauser 2. HR: M, Gertchen; A, Jane Newman.
Records: Marathon 5-2, 5-0 Marawood South; Assumption 3-1 overall and Marawood South.