LEAGUE SURGE: Norse become Hawks fourth straight HOIC victim

ROLAND – Ady Wintermote doesn’t try to do too much inside the South Hamilton pitcher’s circle. The freshman throws strikes and lets her defense do the rest.

It’s worked out really well lately.

Good defense usually spits out a good result, and that was the case for the Hawks on a sweltering evening yesterday at Bill Hennessy Field. South Hamilton played their second straight error-free game – the run of innings without a miscue stands at 16 dating back to the fourth frame of Friday’s game against Iowa City West at the Urbandale tournament – and took advantage of five Roland-Story bobbles to run up the score and win 7-1.

The Hawks (6-9, 6-4 HOIC) have devoured four straight Heart of Iowa Conference opponents and it’s not a big secret why.

It’s all about the defense.

“(Earlier in the season) on defense we were getting ahead of ourselves and trying to throw before we fielded it,” South Hamilton head coach Laura Read said. “But now the girls are doing a really good job of doing one thing at a time and staying focused.”

Wintermote struck out just one batter and that didn’t come until the seventh inning. The players behind her took care of the 20 other outs, some in sparkling fashion.

Center fielder Kayla Lucas gunned down Roland-Story’s Sydney Berends at the plate in the first inning and then made a leaping over-the-shoulder catch in the deepest part of the park on a hard-hit ball by Jesslyn Coghlan in the sixth. Twin sister Kali Lucas, the Hawks’ shortstop, made her own soaring snare on a ball off the bat of Schyler Polaski one batter earlier in the sixth.

Wintermote was touched for seven hits and she walked none. A Hailey Louw double to left-center in the third led to the only run of the game for Roland-Story (5-9, 4-6 HOIC), which lost for the fourth straight time.

“(Wintermote) does a really nice job of locating her pitches and just putting them in the zone for hitters,” Read said. “I think the defense trusts her … that makes them want to do their jobs for her.”

South Hamilton also produced seven hits, highlighted by a fifth-inning double by Tiffany Jacobson. Her liner looked like a run-of-the-mill base hit to left, but she never slowed down rounding first and caught the Roland-Story defense by surprise as she raced to second and slid in safely.

Kenzie Busch blooped a two-RBI single into right field in the third inning – part of her 2-for-2 night. Kali Lucas also roped two hits and drove in a run in the third. Kayla Carlson singled in the second and plated a run in the fifth; Leandra Diersen and Kayla Lucas added singles.

The Hawks relied on the lower portion of their order after the first four batters went a combined 1-for-15.

“Everybody is contributing one through nine,” Read said. “Kenzie is at the bottom of the order and she does a really nice job of getting on base. Any day could be anybody’s day … they can all hit.”

South Hamilton also feasted on Roland-Story’s mistakes. The Norse made three errors in the second and they translated into three Hawk runs. Another mistake in the third paved the way for three more runs and a 6-0 South Hamilton lead.

Norse starting pitcher Erin Nuetzman took the loss, but only allowed one earned run.

“That adds up,” Read said of the R-S errors. “One of the girls commented it was nice to be on the other side for a change.”

South Hamilton will look to stay hot tonight when it travels to Nevada for a league tilt against the Cubs at 7:30 p.m.