CLAYTON — Coaches are paid to be tough critics, and Cascade softball coach Don Helmick went over his team’s 8-1 season-opening win over Beech Grove on Tuesday with an ultra-fine-toothed comb.
“I didn’t think we played very well,” Helmick said. “We struggled at the plate, we had kids who didn’t start because they missed a practice and we had mental mistakes in the field.”
While three errors led to Beech Grove base runners, one element that was never out of sync was senior pitcher Kate Breedlove, who struck out 15 batters while giving up just two hits and two walks.
“When she hits her spots, she’s hard to hit,” Helmick said. “We disagreed on a few pitch calls tonight, but I haven’t called pitches in two years, so I’m still learning what they like.
“Between her and (fellow starting pitcher Kellie) Mink, they’re tough to hit. Sometimes their biggest problem is themselves, something I tell them all the time.”
Cascade got on the board in the second with a sacrifice RBI by Breedlove and a wild pitch that plated a run.
In the third, sacrifices by Makayla Collier and Mink made it a four-run advantage.
Cascade made it 5-0 in the fourth when Collier walked with the bases loaded. Collier followed that up with a two-run triple in the sixth, and another wild pitch brought home the Cadets’ final run.
Nine of the 11 Cadets that went to the plate reached base, and Helmick said success this season will depend on what they do with the bat in their hands.
“We have a lot of speed, we just have to hit the ball,” he said. “We have two quality pitchers, we just have to get the bats going.”
Cascade (1-0) will take the diamond on Thursday with a visit to Indian Creek.
Follow Hendricks County Flyer sports writer Brent Glasgow on Twitter @BGlasgow37.