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Springfield sophomore catcher Kierra Hague served as the grand marshal of an astonishing early-season hit parade put on by the Blue Devils on Tuesday.
Hague hit two home runs, including a grand slam, in Springfield’s 25-2 rout of Central Catholic. Hague went 4 for 4 and scored four runs in the fifth game of the young season.
PHOTO GALLERY: Springfield dominates Central Catholic
The Blue Devils (4-1) had 23 hits, and seven batters had multiple hits in a game shortened to five innings by the mercy rule.
“Our team has been putting in a lot of hard work in the batting cages, and I guess it’s coming through for a lot of us,” Hague said. “I’m really benefiting from it.”
Springfield, the preseason favorite to win the Northern Lakes League, trailed Central 1-0 after the top of the first. But the Blue Devils scored four in the first before exploding for 10 runs in the third and 11 in the fourth — batting around in both.
“This is a confidence-builder,” Springfield coach Rob Gwozdz said. “You could see the confidence go up and down the lineup once the kids got going. When you have confidence like that, [the ball] is coming in like the size of a basketball. One through nine, I think we’re pretty strong.”
All 10 Springfield batters had at least one hit.
Sophomore pitcher Lexi Buck hit a three-run home run and finished 2 for 2 with four RBIs. She also gave up two runs on three hits.
Junior Hannah Girlie went 4 for 4 with four runs batted in and scored four runs.
Senior Bre Buck had a double, scored three runs, and drove in two. Junior Brianna Espino went 3 for 3 with a double and scored two runs. Sophomore Carly Rockman went 3 for 3 and drove in two runs.
Leadoff hitter Kiley Aller scored four runs. Junior Libby Matthewson, who hits second, scored three runs.
Pinch hitters Kate Schroeder (run, RBI) and Paige LaPoint (two runs) also chipped in. The middle of the order — Girlie, Hague, and Buck — combined for 10 hits and 12 RBIs.
“I love it because I know Hannah is going to get on base, and Bre will do work behind me,” Hague said. “We have a lot of good hitters on our team, and we’re working hard.”
Central (0-7) — picked to finish fourth in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference — scored single runs in the first and fourth innings. Junior Lauren Best pitched all four innings. Junior Ashley Best and freshman Olivia Morsion both singled and scored. Junior Ashley Erd had an RBI single.
Regarding his Nos. 3, 4, and 5 hitters, Gwozdz said other teams have to “pick their poison.”
“If you pitch around one, the other kid is going to get you,” he said.
Springfield already has 10 home runs in five games. Hague has five home runs and Bre Buck hit three — all of which came in one game.
Hague gave her team a 12-1 lead with a home run to right-center field in the third. She then launched a shot to center field for the grand slam in the fourth. Lexi Buck’s three-run homer in the fourth made it 22-2.
In 2012, the Blue Devils hit 26 home runs. Last year, Springfield improved that number with 27 home runs.
“It's a lot of work in the off season,” Gwozdz said. “Kierra is a basketball player, too. The neat thing about her is that she is down on the basketball court for two hours … and then she comes to open gym and sticks it [batting practice] for another hour and a half. That’s dedication and commitment.”