MOUND – There were a few nerves inside Delano’s Carly Stuckmayer heading into their matchup with Mound Westonka. They didn’t show. The sophomore had a career day at the plate and in the circle helping lead the Delano softball team to a 13-5 win over Mound Westonka Monday night.
“I was kind of scared at first,” Stuckmayer said “It went well though. It was nice hitting my first home run ever.”
Stuckmayer’s first career home run was just one part of the offense that helped lead the Tigers to their seventh win of the season. Delano scored double-digit runs for the fourth time this season showing their offense still has some power in the lineup.
“We’ve got a pretty young group,” Tigers coach Megan Vargo said. “Every day is just another step in the right direction. We’ve had our struggles though. The wins are coming and we’ve had our big wins but in that, we still need to grow. We’re not satisfied where we are.”
Delano had some big holes to fill in the lineup after losing several key players. The Tigers then lost their best player in Louisa Stowman before the season began to injury, but they’ve been up to the challenge. The key returning players are becoming leaders and the young talent is filling in nicely as the Tigers haven’t missed a beat so far this season.
“I think that seniors have been key,” Vargo said. “Then Louisa really hasn’t left. She’s been at every practice. She had surgery less than a week before the season started and still was at the first practice. She’s been huge in helping our outfielders and helping girls when they come in from at-bats. She just talks to them about the pitchers and what the defense is doing. Along with those other seniors, they’re an experienced group. We’ve got a lot of young and inexperienced kids with that and they’ve been fearless.”
Delano’s high-powered offense has also helped out the pitching staff in a big way. Making just her second start of the season, Stuckmayer had all the confidence she needed knowing her offense would back her up.
“That gives me a lot of confidence,” Stuckmayer said. “I know I’ll be backed up every time that I mess up or throw a bad pitch. It just makes me feel really good.”
“The scores have shown it,” Vargo added. “We have given up some runs. We’re working to tidy some of those things up. It allows (our pitchers) to go out free. If we get down after an inning, they know the offense is going to come up to the plate and we could plate six or seven runs. It gives them a little extra boost of confidence. If they miss one, it’s onto the next.”
While Vargo knew what the offense was capable of coming into this season, they surprise her at times in her first year as head coach.
“It’s kind of crazy,” Vargo said. “I watch a lot of college softball and see how they do things. We’re kind of doing the same. Any kid can hit the ball out of the park or hit a double in the blink of an eye. Especially at the high school level, it’s crazy that you can have that from one through nine. I enjoy it. These kids are showing how the hard work over the offseason is paying off.”
Delano is off to a strong start to the season with wins in seven of their first eight games. While things have started nicely, the Tigers know they got a long way to go to be where they want to be.
“It’s grind time,” Vargo said. “We only have three weeks until the postseason. It’s insane to say that. This is where we decide if we want to be good or do we want to be great. That’s really where we’re at. We’ve been putting up the runs and getting the wins, but it’s grind time. We got some good opponents coming up. It’s going to be a grind. It’s go time. They know that.”
“We just need to keep on hitting really well and keep on getting runs,” Stuckmayer added. “Offensively, we just need to be us.”
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