Quick starts haven’t been an issue for the last couple of outings for Class B No. 7-rated Northwest.
Now the Vikings just hope to extend that early success throughout the rest of the game.
But a three-run first inning proved to be more than enough on Tuesday to kickstart a 6-2 victory over Aurora.
That followed up a nine-run first inning on Monday that allowed Northwest to split a doubleheader at Class A No. 5 North Platte.
“Coming out in that first inning, we’ve been hitting the ball really well,” Vikings coach Mitch Sadd said. “(Monday) night we just came out and started driving the ball in that second game. We did that again tonight. We just need to stay on them once we get going.”
Avyn Urbanski and Grace Baasch got this big first inning going with back-to-back singles. After Reba Mader walked to load the bases, Urbanksi scored on an error.
Ava Laurent followed with a two-run single with one out.
Urbanksi and Baasch finished a combined 5 for 7 with three runs and two RBIs.
“Those two are hitting the ball and seeing the ball really well right now,” Sadd said. “If those two get on base, we’re running with them because those are two very fast kids. That’s one thing about our team — we’re very fast and can run when we want to.”
Baasch said the hits seem to be contagious.
“We just have to get the bats rolling,” she said. “Once they start, they don’t stop. Our confidence is very high.”
The quick starts came after losing to North Platte in 10 innings in the opener. Baasch said the Vikings (12-5) wanted to bounce back after that tough defeat.
“We’ve just got to keep our heads up, go out strong and stay strong,” she said. “We just can’t get into our heads.”
While happy about the quick starts, Sadd wasn’t as pleased that the team only scored a combined four runs after the first inning in the past two wins.
“I think they get into that comfort zone that, hey, we’re up four or five runs so we can just sit back and cruise a little bit,” he said. “We always tell them once you get on somebody you’ve got to stay on them. You can’t let them back into the ballgame.”
Laurent allowed no earned runs on five hits with 11 strikeouts and no walks over 6 1/3 innings. The Huskies (10-6) broke up the shutout bid in the seventh when Zoe Johnson scored on a wild pitch and Hannah Janda on a dropped third strike.
“(Laurent) throws well,” Sadd said. “I’m glad we finally get a day off tomorrow and can let her rest and then we’ll go to Cozad Thursday and have a big weekend (with Saturday’s Northwest Invitational).”