GENEVA – The Geneva softball team had to wait a long time for its first game of the season, with cancellations wiping out the beginning of its schedule and weather preventing the Vikings from practicing outside. So waiting another 2 1/2 hours was nothing.
The cold, wet spring wreaked havoc on Geneva’s field, meaning the Vikings and visiting Oswego were forced to wait until well after noon to start their game, originally scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., while the field was worked on.
Fortunately for the Vikings, the outcome was worth the wait, as they grabbed a season-opening 7-5 victory.
“Yes it was [worth the wait],” Geneva coach Greg Dierks said. “Not just today but for the last four weeks. This is the first time we’ve come outside all year. It was good to get out and play.
“When the field was deteriorating at 10 o’clock, that would’ve been really disappointing to think we were going to play and not. I appreciate the effort of our grounds crew and our athletic director to get the field ready to go. ... I appreciate the fact that Oswego was willing to wait it out, too.”
The Vikings jumped to a 7-2 lead after five innings, but by the seventh, perhaps they weren’t as thrilled that Oswego had waited around as long as the Panthers did. Five of the first six batters in the top of the seventh picked up hits, and after a sacrifice fly narrowed the score to 7-5, Oswego had the bases loaded. But junior pitcher Haley Orwig (complete game) coaxed a groundball to senior third baseman Kirsten Searcy, who completed a fine play to first for the game-ending out.
“It was probably a little too close for comfort, but they hit it to the right person,” Dierks said. “It’s comforting when the ball’s coming to (Searcy). She’s played great at third base.”
“I like playing under pressure,” Searcy said. “Close situations like that, I like to get the ball and I like to get the out. I was ready for it.”
Searcy was right in the middle of the Vikings’ offensive output, too, picking up a pair of hits, a run scored and an RBI. She was one of four Geneva batters to drive in a run. Orwig helped her own cause, too, getting on base three times and scoring twice.
The lousy March weather made the game tough, players said, but regardless of gray skies, cold wind and leafless trees, Wednesday was a beautiful day for a ballgame.
“We’ve been waiting to play our first game for so long,” senior right fielder Amanda Ebert said. “We were supposed to have our first game like three or four weeks ago, so it was really great to get out on the field despite the weather. And we played hard.”