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Thursday's contest between Mogadore and Waterloo started and ended with an Amber Cieplinski blast.
With three Vikings homers knocking in nine runs, Waterloo coasted to a 12-1 victory in Atwater.
"You don't normally see that," Wildcats coach Tom Pollock said with a chuckle.
After the first two Vikings batters reached base to lead off the bottom of the first, Cieplinski sent a deep shot to right-center field to put the home team up three.
"As soon as I swung, I felt it," Cieplinski said. "It's a feeling. You can always tell when it's over."
Immediately after, players in the Waterloo dugout speculated that it was one of the longest homers they had ever seen -- and Vikings coach Brenda Flarida didn't disagree.
"It was -- by far," Flarida said, estimating it went at least 250 feet. "The funny thing about that at-bat was he called the pitch before that kind of a high strike and then the next pitch was kind of the same pitch and she took that pitch."
Then, with Waterloo leading 10-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Cieplinski turned on an inside pitch and sent the ball rocketing inside the foul pole and beyond the fence for the walk-off (run-rule) victory. It was Cieplinski's first homer to left this season -- and her fifth overall.
"It was a smooth swing," Cieplinski said. "She kind of threw me inside, it was high and inside, so I just got around it a little bit, and it just kept curving and luckily it made it in fair territory."
In between, Machayla Kehrer wreaked plenty of havoc of her own, both on the mound and in the batter's box. After Mogadore got the first two Waterloo batters of the second inning out, the Vikings loaded the bases on a hit-by-pitch, a single and a walk, and Kehrer capitalized by golfing a 1-0 pitch out of the ballpark.
"That strike, I just saw it coming in slow motion," Kehrer said. "As soon as I hit it, I knew it was gone."
Having given herself a 7-0 lead to work with, Kehrer made it stand, pitching a complete-game six-hitter. It's not that the Wildcats (2-5, 1-4) couldn't hit. They sent plenty of screaming line drives into the outfield. Kehrer, however, limited the damage, holding Mogadore without an extra-base hit. When she needed to get out of a jam, her heater, topping out in the sixties, was more than enough, though she also mixed in a devastating change-up that's perhaps 25 miles an hour.
"I just like to clear my head," Kehrer said. "Every time I get on the mound, I just clear my head. People were cheering. I just clear them all out. I just don't hear anything. I just keep my mind clear and pitch the best I can."
With runners on first and second and one out in the top of the second, Kehrer caught a batter looking, then coerced a short fly with Colleen Kelly sprinting in to make a nice catch. In the third, Wildcats shortstop Lexie Pierce hit three hard line drives, with the third finally going fair for a base hit. Colleen Coughlin's laser to left plated Pierce, but Kehrer struck out the next batter with a blazing heater to escape the inning without any further damage. In the fifth, Kehrer got her second out with hard heat, then after hitting a batter, came back with a gorgeous 1-2 fastball on the outer black to retire the Wildcats.
"They can hit some balls," Flarida said. "We talked about last night just throwing a little harder and her fastball was really working today. She threw the ball much, much better today."
Kehrer was helped by a Vikings defensive effort that was remarkably good, particularly given how early it is in the season. In the fourth, for example, with a runner on first and one out, second baseman Kelsey More calmly corralled a soft roller, tagged the runner and tossed to first to complete the double play.
"As a pitcher, it makes all the difference in the world when you know your defense is going to be there," Flarida said. "This is only our sixth game and we've only been up here that many times, because we haven't practiced on this field much, because before our first game, we weren't on dirt, so to come together like that, it's a little different when you're out on dirt than on a gym floor. The defense is coming together pretty nicely."
An inning later, More, hitting out of the nine-spot, drove in three runs with her bases-loaded double deep down the left-field line to give Waterloo a 10-1 lead.
While the powerful Vikings landed their share of blows, Wildcats freshman pitcher Amanda Kot had her moments with a 1-2-3 third and a similarly easy fourth inning.
"She did a good job. She did what we wanted her to," Pollock said. "She's used to pitching to girls her age. Now all the sudden, girls are a little older and bigger and stronger. You're pitching 14U and next thing you know you're pitching to a 17-year-old girl that can kill the ball. That's a big difference, but she did keep her composure."
Kot also ripped a pair of singles, the second a sharp liner down the left-field line. Coughlin was the only other Mogadore player to finish with multiple hits.