After fighting through some first-game jitters, the Milford softball team came back to finish its home quad 2-1. The Eagles lost the opener to Nebraska City 13-4 but held off Conestoga 7-6 and beat Wilber-Clatonia 8-1.
The Nebraska City game was the first time Emma Maple had pitched in two years, Coach Tom McCall said. The senior missed last season with a shoulder injury. Overall, he said, the Eagles had six starters in either new or different positions.
For example, Janae Nitzsche and Callie Carraher both pitched, but they were playing infield against the Pioneers. Sydney Schildt, Sam Cosaert and Makena Stutzman also played other positions last season.
“We’ll have some growing pains,” McCall said.
The game started well for Milford, which scored a run in the first inning. Nebraska City responded with a run in the bottom of the first and then scored eight in the second.
The Eagles put up three runs in the third, highlighted by a Maple home run, but the Pioneers scored two each in the third and fourth innings to win 13-4.
Milford finished the game with eight hits. Maple, Calyn Mowinkel and Abby Houk had two hits each, with one of Houk’s a double.
“We did some decent things,” McCall said. “I was excited about how we answered back.”
Carraher got the start in game two, a 7-6 win over Conestoga. Milford scored runs in each of the first three innings to build a 7-0 lead, but Conestoga scored six in the fourth to make things interesting.
Mowinkel and Houk again led the offense with two hits each. Houk hit another double. Carraher pitched all five innings for Milford.
“We saw some good things,” McCall said. “In general we’ll take it.”
The final game of the day was against Southern Nebraska Conference foe Wilber-Clatonia. Maple was back in the circle and pitched all six innings, striking out six and walking just one.
After seven hits against Conestoga, Milford’s offense pounded 12 against the Wolverines.
Carraher was 3-3 at the plate with a double, and Mowinkel was 3-4 with a double and three RBIs.
“On the weekend, we hit the ball hard up and down the lineup,” McCall said. “In general, we were pleased. We knew there would be some things we’d have to work on.”
Now that the Eagles have a few games under their belts, McCall said they have a better idea of the team’s strengths. The Eagles are on the road this week, with games at Wahoo and Syracuse Aug. 21 and Thursday, Aug. 23, respectively.