By Steve Beideck
LINCOLN – Following several spirited weeks of drills and competition among teammates fighting for the same goals, the Nebraska softball team is ready to see some new faces in the opposing dugout.
Thursday marked the team’s final intrasquad scrimmage of the fall season. Exhibition games against other Division I opponents begin Sunday when Nebraska-Omaha travels to Lincoln for a 12:30 p.m. test at Bowlin Stadium. After a pair of games Oct. 7 in Kansas City against Missouri-Kansas City and South Dakota State, the Huskers return to Lincoln to face Creighton on Oct. 8.
In Thursday’s intrasquad game, the Scarlet scored a 4-3, come-from-behind victory over the Cream before a crowd of about 250 people at Bowlin Stadium.
Freshmen pitchers Emmerson Cope and Caitlin Olensky kept the game scoreless through three innings. That pitching duel left NU coach Rhonda Revelle beaming.
“What was so cool tonight was that we started both freshmen,” Revelle said. “They just went after each other, and they kept putting up zeroes, and I thought that was awesome. The offense kept adjusting, and we had a couple of big hits.
“I just thought it was a good softball game.”
The game revealed the kind of depth, not just at pitcher but many other positions, that Revelle hoped would develop from all the work her charges were putting in throughout September.
“I’ve learned that we have some real depth at several positions, which is really nice,” Revelle said. “You know we’re banged up, but it’s still been very competitive.”
Not only was Cope effective in the circle, she again was a force at the plate. The 5-foot-11 right-hander from Topeka, Kansas, hit a 2-run home run to center field in the top of the fourth inning for the Cream that also plated junior catcher Ava Bredwell, who laced a one-out single to center.
For Cope, it was her second home run in three games. Bredwell, a junior from Shawnee, Kansas, also finished the three scrimmages with a pair of round-trippers.
“Emerson Cope, you’ve seen her hit two home runs,” Revelle said. “The ball gets out in a hurry. We knew that. That hasn’t surprised me.”
Then there’s Jordy Bahl. The heralded Oklahoma transfer and Papillion-La Vista graduate hit .400 in the three scrimmages and added an RBI triple to her fall totals that got the Scarlet within 2-1.
Bahl then scored on a wild pitch, getting her foot on the left corner of the plate to avoid the tag, tying the game 2-2. She then came in to pitch the final three innings and allowed no earned runs and struck out three.
Bredwell generated the most offense over the three games, going 6-of-9 with five runs scored. She ripped a double down the left field line on Thursday and scored on an infield out to put the Cream back in front 4-3.
The Scarlet scored the tying and winning run in the bottom of the sixth with two outs. Sophomore Ashley Smetter out of Lincoln Southwest worked a walk out of Sarah Harness, a Bowling Green, Missouri, product, before Purdue transfer and Millard West graduate Bella Bacon belted a home run to center field put the Scarlet back in front 4-3.
Bahl, who played left field the first four innings, closed out the game with two strikeouts and getting the final out on a foul ball flyout to left.
Revelle has some tough decisions to make on a starting lineup before filling out the lineup card Sunday for the UNO exhibition. “It’s not going to be my most fun moment of the fall to write a lineup Sunday because you’re going to leave some people on the bench who have been performing pretty well,” Revelle said. “Somebody else is doing it a little bit better.”