Abilene coach Don Nebelsick was fortunate to have two starting pitchers a year ago, winning the North Central Kansas League title with Tara Hoekman and Alise Murray on the mound. This year started with expectations that Murray would be back and she would trade off games with Aldyn Wildey.
That was until Murray injured her pitching arm. That elevated Wildey to not only starting varsity pitcher but starting pitcher for both games.
“Aldyn has a big responsibility for the rest of the year,” Nebelsick said after the Abilene junior scored two wins over Chapman, 11-1, 12-0. “She’s basically it.”
For the 11 innings Tuesday, Wildey gave up six hits. She struck out five and walked just one batter. The one run was not earned.
Asked when the last time she pitched a doubleheader before this spring she said, “To be honest, I don’t remember the last time I pitched two games in a row. If I have to guess, I would say it was two summers ago.”
Wildey has been battling a knee injury, which makes it difficult for her to run but does not bother her pitching.
After the Chapman game she said two games, no problem.
“I feel fine,” he said. “It’s gotten easier. It helps having a really good defense to back me up. But as you saw, they (Chapman) got a lot of hits but we fielded them and got outs. That’s how we won those games.”
Backing her up are two freshmen, Mallory Olberding and Jenna Klein, who have stepped up to the varsity mound this season.
“It does help knowing that I do have the two freshman pitchers that can come help me if I need it,” Wildey said. “I’m okay pitching two games. Obviously, it is not physically hurting me at all. My knee feels fine.”
Wildey also give a lot of credit to senior Allyne Clark behind the plate calling pitchers.
But the Cowgirls have struggled with errors and hitting in earlier games, something they did not have problems with Tuesday.
“It helps me to push myself to know that I have to get outs,” Wildey said. “But they (teammates) always make up for it; whether it’s getting a good hit or making a good play. Rarely do they let one mistake lead to two or three.”
Wildey hopes the good play against Chapman propels the Cowgirls into the Class 4A regionals.
“I think we are good enough to do well in regionals,” she said. “We do have Wamego coming up and that will be a tougher game. But I think if we come out and play our best like we did tonight, I think we will be fine.”
Nebelsick said the Cowgirls showed a lot of improvement over the week-long break without a game.
“We know what we need to work on,” he said. “They are growing and hopefully it will continue.”
Talking on the field, making plays including a double play against Chapman, eliminating errors and hitting were some of the good things that happened Tuesday.
“Our lower end of the batting order did better tonight and we knew that was an area that could improve,” he said. “They did today. I think we had maybe one or two errors all night long and that is totally acceptable.”
Chapman coach Andy Fewin called his team “a work in progress.”
“We’re just trying to get better,” he said. “We have some young kids, mostly freshman and sophomores with a few juniors and three seniors. We have kids that can consistently get on base but aren’t getting much help from others.
“I think the biggest part is that we try,” he added. “We have no big excuses. You have to hit the ball and score runs to win. If you can’t do that you’re in trouble.”
In game one, Brianna Lake scored three runs on her two hits for Abilene. Kiley Crider also had a two-run single in the third. Alise Murray also went 4-for-4. Abilene scored the 11 runs on 15 hits.
For Chapman, Addie Mayberry pitched five of the six inning and Bailey Hurford one inning. Hurford scored Chapman’s run.
In game two, Karina Anderson had back-to-back triples with two RBI. Wildey also had a double and scored three runners. Crider also had three RBI. Abilene scored 12 runs on 10 hits.
Morgan Beemer took the loss for Chapman pitching three innings. Bailey Hurford threw one.
Chapman will play Concordia on Friday in a make up game.
Abilene, 7-7, will travel to Wamego on Friday and host Council Grove on Monday before the Class 4A regional May 14-15. Chapman will host the regional which will include Abilene, Chapman, Clay Center Community, Concordia, Hiawatha, Holton, Hoyt-Royal Valley and Wamego.
The Abilene junior varsity defeated Chapman 15-3, 10-4, in a doubleheader.
Jenna Klein pitched game one for Abilene. Mallory Olberding got the win in game two.
Abilene 11, Chapman 1
Chapman 0 0 0 0 1 0—1
Abilene 0 2 4 3 1 1—11
Chapman (Ab, H, R): Addie Mayberry 3 1 0, Ashley Hansen 3 1 0, Vanessa Lovett 3 0 0, Morgan Beemer 3 0 0, Megan Hurford 2 0 0, Faith Decker 2 1 0, Bailey Hurford 2 1 1, Brittany Duer 2 0 0, Rachel Sutter 2 0 0. Totals 22 4 1.
Abilene: Karina Anderson 3 0 1, Alise Murray 4 4 1, Allyne Clark 4 1 2, Michaela Olberding 2 1 2, Aldyn Wildey 3 2 3, Stacy Hanson 3 0 0, Shay Hoekman 4 2 2, Brianna Lake 4 2 0, Kiley Crider 2 1 0. Totals 29 13 11.
Abilene 12, Chapman 0
Chapman 0 0 0 0 0—0
Abilene 7 1 1 3 x—12
Chapman: Ashley Hansen 2 0 0, Addie Mayberry 2 0 0, Vanessa Lovett 2 1 0, Megan Hurford 1 0 0, Morgan Beemer 2 0 0, Bailey Hurford 2 0 0, Faith Decker 2 0 0, Rachel Sutter 2 1 0, Paige Altwegg 2 0 0. Totals 17 2 0.
Abilene: Karina Anderson 4 2 3, Alise Murray 1 1 3, Allyne Clark 4 2 1, Michaela Olberding 2 0 0, Aldyn Wildey 2 1 1, Stacy Hanson 3 2 1, Shay Hoekman 2 0 1, Brianna Lake 2 1 1, Kiley Crider 2 1 1. Totals 22 10 12.