Prep softball

Hanover Central seizes control of GSSC with win over Wheeler

2014-05-02T20:00:00Z 2014-05-02T22:31:21Z Hanover Central seizes control of GSSC with win over WheelerPaul Oren Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 02, 2014 8:00 pm  • 

UNION TWP. | Frustrated by falling behind in the count during her first three trips to the plate, Melissa Balkema attacked the first pitch she saw from Wheeler’s Nickole Finch in the top of the eighth inning.

The Hanover Central shortstop blasted a three-run home run off Finch to give the Times No. 2 Wildcats a 3-0 victory as well as control in the Greater South Shore Conference title race.

Hanover Central improved to 16-2 overall and 10-0 in conference play.

“I was a little angry in the way I had been hitting when I first went up there,” Balkema said. “I told myself that I was going to be swinging at the first strike that I saw. It hit the sweet spot and I knew it was gone. I was cheering all around the bases.”

Balkema’s blast was the only significant offense in a game that was dominated by two of the best pitchers in the area.

Hanover’s Ashley Yoways was perfect over the first 5 2/3 innings before giving up her lone hit of the afternoon to Kadie Spoor. Finch struck out 10 for the Bearcats (10-2, 7-1)and flashed some leather with an impressive catch that ended a Hanover scoring threat in the sixth.

Wheeler coach Marc Bruner was adamant that the outcome of the game wasn’t just on Balkema’s home run.

“They’re a good hitting team and we shut them out for most of the game,” Bruner said. “You can’t expect a pitcher and a defense to shut out a team like that for seven, eight or nine innings. They’re a really good hitting team and Nickole was outstanding. She deserved a better fate than what we gave her. The game was not on our pitcher.”

Yoways (12-2) was in complete control from the start, looking nothing like the pitcher who walked three batters in the first inning of Tuesday’s rain-shortened game against Wheeler.

“Coach (Larry McMillen) was on me to pitch it low,” Yoways said. “I’ve been putting it up high and people have been hitting it off me. I just had to calm down. This was a good win, especially coming against (Wheeler) as they’re becoming our rivals now.”

Friday’s game marked the first full contest between the two GSSC teams after three failed attempts earlier in the season. Tuesday’s game will be continued later this month and the teams appear to be on a collision course to meet in the postseason.

“We know now that we can beat Wheeler,” Balkema said. “This was a big win for us and this gives us the confidence that we need to be able to get in a zone.”

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best boys cross country team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses