By RYAN CZACHORSKI
---- — NEOGA -- After struggling through a difficult 3-23 season in 2013, Neoga coach Clay Haurberg said his Indians needed to work on their mental toughness. The Indians took those words to heart Wednesday, riding a wave of confidence to a 12-4 home win against the Ramsey Rams to improve to 2-2. "Yesterday, we struggled," Haurberg said. "We left some outs on the field, played it safe. Today, you saw a lot more aggression. That's what we needed."Neoga used an eight-run third inning to seize control, and never looked back. Things didn't start off easy for Neoga, as freshman starting pitcher Bayley Neece was roughed up in the first inning. The Rams tallied five hits and two runs in the top of the first inning. Neece would settle down from there, and would spark the third-inning rally. Neoga scored its first run when Kristin Albin bunted with two on and no out, and Ramsey catcher Shauna Rainey threw the ball into left field, allowing Casi Blazich to score. Amber Potter grounded out to short on the next at bat, but tied the game as Whitney Jean scored.With two outs, Neece battled back from a one-two count, and worked her way to a two-out walk while facing more than 10 pitches. From there, Neoga woke up. Stephanie Roderick, Teah Beals, Josie Taylor, Blazich and Jean all had consecutive two-out RBI singles to run the score to 7-2. Blazich came around to score on another Rainey throwing error. "The kids responded to that, they got hits with runners in scoring position," Haurberg said. Ramsey came back in the fourth to cut the lead to 8-3. Bre Seaton reached on an error with one out, and scored following a Whitney Moreland single and an error in right field. But even with the two errors, the Indians buckled down and got out of the inning unscathed from there."That would have devastated us last year, it would have turned into three or four more errors," Haurberg said.The Rams grabbed another run in the sixth on a Sky Kimberlin groundout to make it 8-4.Jean knocked in a run as the second batter of the sixth, and would make her way to third. She scored following an Albin strikeout, when Rainey tried to throw to third, hit a departing Albin in the batting helmet only to have the ball carom into left field. Jean scored easily. Neece and Roderick added two-out RBI singles to close the inning up 12-4, and Neece got the Rams out 1-2-3 in the seventh. She pitched seven full innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and striking out three. "She got that confidence brewing, she was getting some good pitches going," Haurberg said.Jean led the way offensively, going 4 for 4 with two RBI. Blazich was 3 for 4 with an RBI, Albin was 2 for 3 and Roderick was 2 for 4 with two RBI.The Indians look to grab another win today when they host St. Elmo/Brownstown in NTC action.
Neoga 12, Ramsey 4Ramsey 200 101 0 4 8 3Neoga 008 004 X 12 15 2WP - Neece LP - Banal
Neoga: Blazich (3-4, RBI), Jean (4-4, 2 RBI), Albin (2-4), Potter (1-4, RBI), Neece (1-3, RBI, BB), Roderick (2-4, 2 RBI), Beals (1-4, RBI), Taylor (1-3, RBI)