Then Bellevue’s bats woke up to the tune of 14-unanswered runs as the Lady Truckers took home a 14-1 loss and an early exit from the Division II sectional tournament.
Norwalk struck first after Sydney Hughes ripped a double to left center and scored on a Kaitlyn Stoll RBI single a batter later, but that would be it for the offense as Norwalk went quiet for the next five innings.
“Bellevue is a great team,” Norwalk coach Julie Schmidt said. “They battle every at bat and they hit the ball a ton. They are resilient and when they got down, they battled back. We just couldn’t string enough hits together.”
The Truckers managed just five hits on the day after having three in the first inning. Stoll recorded a hit in her only two at bats while Maddie Deiderick and Karissa Conrad joined Hughes with one hit performances. The Truckers came in with confidence and left scratching their heads.
“They had the belief going in and it showed with that first inning,” Schmidt said. “Then they got a little shaky at the plate. They know Bellevue is a great team and I know we have a team that is just as good. They are capable of playing to that level. We just struggled stringing them together.”
Norwalk makes the early exit with a 12-8 record but still has four regular season games remaining. They will use those to send their seniors, Kayla Appeman, Addie Mannino and Stoll off into the sunset while working on building for the future.
“We have had our share of challenges this season,” Schmidt said. “We have a very resilient group and are fostering some leaders who are coming up the rung. As we say goodbye to our leaders from this season, these younger players are going to have a big learning curve coming the next couple of seasons as they become leaders.”
The Truckers are back at it on Saturday hosting Fremont St. Joseph in a double-header.
“My message to them is for the next four games to come in and remain positive,” Schmidt said. “They have to come in with their chins up. It is easy to hang your head and be negative, but softball is supposed to be fun and that is what I want them to do. Go out and have fun.”