Grand Valley hitters finish off 6-0 victory

Tribune Chronicle / Bob Ettinger Grand Valley’s Abby Triskett fires a pitch Wednesday against Maplewood.

ORWELL — Terry Hejduk has mentioned that every hitter on the Grand Valley softball team steps into the box expecting to get the big hit when the situations arise. The Mustangs got exactly one opportunity for the big hit against Maplewood on Wednesday, and Megan Moodt made sure she didn’t waste her chance in driving in a pair to break open in a 6-0 home victory over the Rockets in Northeastern Athletic Conference action.

With Grand Valley leading, 3-0, in the bottom of the sixth, Moodt followed consecutive one-out hits from Dani Shreve and Abby Takacs with a double down the right-field line and moved all the way to third on the throw to the plate.

“I always go up there looking for the big hit,” Moodt said. “That’s what we needed at the time. I honestly thought (the right fielder) would catch it. It just kind of happened. It was right down the middle.

“It all started snowballing for us. When the person in front of you gets a hit, you’re waiting to get the next hit.”

Leah Patterson’s sacrifice fly scored Moodt to put the game out of reach, 6-0, heading to the seventh.

Tribune Chronicle / Bob Ettinger Josie Campbell of Maplewood connects on a pitch against Grand Valley Wednesday in a NAC game.

“The one thing we’ve really emphasized the last three or four days is we’ve started games off with a lot of runs in the first inning and missing opportunities late in the game,” Hejduk said. “Today, we only had one in the first.

“We talked about how we score runs early but we’re never really able to step to deliver that dagger to the heart, to finish games. The way Abby (Triskett) was pitching, we probably didn’t need those runs. But it was good for our confidence to deliver that dagger to the heart. That’s been the one thing we’ve been missing.”

Triskett shut down the Rockets all afternoon in a three-hit shutout. She fanned eight and walked a pair.

“First of all, it was my catcher (Shreve),” Triskett said. “She called a really great game. She worked hard and worked with me. I just got into a rhythm. Once you face the first couple of batters, it comes to you. You pitch the ball. You catch the ball. Take a breath and repeat.”

“They’re a good defensive team,” Maplewood coach Robin Rae said. “We’re a good hitting team. We usually put the ball in play. We had a lot of strikeouts. I think it was the most strikeouts we’ve had all year. We just weren’t sharp.”

Maplewood pitcher Emily Nay lets fly with an offering against Grand Valley in Northeastern Athletic Conference action at Grand Valley on Wednesday.

Triskett managed to keep the Rockets guessing and was able to pitch with the lead from the second inning on.

“(Scoring early) was definitely important,” Triskett said. “We really focus on getting ahead early. I think that’s big momentum for us and it takes the wind from the other team. It also gave me a chance to breathe a little bit.”

“We didn’t hit the ball hard,” Rae said. “You’ve got to give their pitcher credit for that. I don’t know (what she was doing to keep us from hitting the ball hard). I’ll have to ask our batters. That’s a good question. I don’t know. Maybe she was hitting the corners. Maybe we were swinging at borderline pitches.”

Cassandra Gallo singled to open the home half of the first and later scored on a single by Takacs for a 1-0 lead. Triskett walked to open the fourth and scored on Shreve’s single and an error to double the Mustangs’ advantage. Patterson reached on a walk to open the fifth and later scored on a single from Josie Pucel for the third run.

“We were flat-footed,” Rae said. “We had no enthusiasm. I told the pitchers that two of their first three runs were scored after we walked the lead-off hitter in an inning. We can’t walk the lead-off hitter. Then the wheels came off. That happens to us occasionally.”