Bulldog softball starts season strong

Kendrick Murphy/CG Sentinel

Coming into the season Head Softball Coach Scott Worsham knew he would be able to lean on his pitching but thought his offense might take a little time to get going.

In the first game of the season for Creswell, the bats were hot early, scoring 10 runs in the first inning, totaling 16 runs on the day against Oakland. Also seeing home runs by Lizabelle Osborn and Lauren Bailey who combined to bring in seven runs against the Oakers.

In the same game, Hope Ukolov pitched a no-hitter totaling seven strikeouts and seeing 65 percent of her pitches called for strikes. 

Later in the week, the Bulldogs welcomed a much tougher opponent to their field, the Bandon Tigers. This go round with less runs being scored Creswell got another stellar pitching performance from Ukolov and a bottom of the seven inning walk off hit from Dakota Carson to secure a 1-0 Creswell win. 

“It feels like we’re already in mid-season form the way we’ve been playing this first week,” said Worsham. “The girls came out on fire and it’s just been a fun week for us for sure. Offensively that first game against Oakland we came out hot and it was great to see the first inning, 

we just came out aggressive and swinging the bat. It was just awesome to see the run production that we could put up an inning like that and I think the bats are hot right now.” 

Despite not putting up as many runs, the Bulldog offense was still in a good spot, getting seven hits against Bandon and seeing everyone but two players in the lineup get on base once. Ukolov picked up her second win of the young season and tallied seven punchouts for the second game in a row against Bandon while pitching another complete game. 

“Hope (Ukolov) has been on fire,” said Worsham. “She pitched two great games on Wednesday and Friday. I think she’s gotten off to a great start and I’d like to see her continue doing her thing.”

The Bulldogs created plenty of traffic on the base paths early, Bailey hit a leadoff triple in the bottom of the third and Gabby Halgren also hit a leadoff triple in the bottom of the fourth. Creswell wasn’t able to capitalize on either occasion as the game was still scoreless going into the fifth inning. 

Bandon wasn’t able to do anything offensively as Ukolov always seemed to be in control. After a 1-2-3 inning from the Creswell defense, the game was still scoreless with the Bulldogs last half inning up and the home team only needing one run to win. 

Carter Kruger got the inning started by battling off three foul balls and ultimately drawing four balls to get on base with no outs. Soon after Kruger reached first base, she was subbed for pinch runner Tailey Carson.

Tailey’s sister Dakota came up to bat next and after two pitches, Tailey was able to steal second base. That was followed by Bandon misplaying the ball at second, allowing Tailey to advance to third still with no outs.

On the next pitch, Dakota saw a pitch she liked and drove it to center field bringing home her sister and knocking in the one run Creswell needed to win. Dakota was then mobbed by her teammates as they celebrated their 1-0 win in the infield and getting their second win on the week. 

“We knew going into this one (against Bandon) that it was probably going to be a pretty good battle for us right off the bat,” said Worsham. “We knew they (Bandon) were tough and so to beat a pretty good softball team, the way we did makes us feel good about where we’re at and that we’re headed in the right direction. And I think we’re going be competitive this year.”

The Bulldogs will enjoy a couple days off before gearing up to play another home contest against Elmira on March 24 at 4 p.m.