SUAMICO — The softball season is only two games old for Bay Port, but based off its first two games the Pirates look like they’ll once again be a factor in the Fox River Classic Conference.
Behind the pitching of Bailey Smaney and an offense that never rests on the bases, Bay Port thumped Pulaski, 7-1, in a conference game Thursday.
“We’re pretty comfortable,” Smaney said. “We’re happy with the way we’re starting. We’ve had a really good start.”
Through two games Smaney has allowed one run and Bay Port has plated 17 runs. The start isn’t surprising as Bay Port has been one of the FRCC’s best in recent years, but the Pirates did have to replace conference co-player of the year in pitcher Taylor Gutzman, who graduated.
Enter Smaney, who is ready to go in the circle. She struck out nine Thursday and had her fastball and changeup keeping Pulaski off balance.
“Bailey’s such a hard worker,” Bay Port first-year coach Anna Woepse said. “She wants it, she wants to have the ball in her hands. It’s really an easy transition to go from Taylor to Bailey.”
Smaney also was part of an offense that pressured Pulaski. Almost every time Bay Port reached base the runner would attempt to steal second base and it succeeded every time but once.
“We wanted to get as many runners in scoring position,” Smaney said. “We’re in shape and ready to go. We were ready to run.”
Added Woepse: “We are going to make you make the mistakes, we’re going to be aggressive.”
Bay Port had three players with two hits, Alyssa Cooper, Emme Hilbert and Ally Jacques. Among Cooper’s hits was a home run to centerfield.
“The girls are playing well,” Woepse said. “We do a lot of hitting in practice. I’m lucky enough to come into a team that’s really talented.”
Smaney almost recorded her second shutout in as many games, but Pulaski scored in the sixth inning. Nonetheless, the Pirates are ready to go this season and win the FRCC, which was won last year by Green Bay Preble.
“We’re playing really good right now, so we’re pretty confident,” Smaney said. “Everybody else is working and so are we.”
Woepse was an assistant last year with Bay Port so she knows her team. She’s excited for the season.
“I feel good,” Woepse said. “We will compete with anyone. It is a tough conference. I’m excited to see where we’re going to land.”
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay