Rockets hope to win SBC, make tourney run

Yaneek Smith

Press Sports Editor

It’s hard enough reaching new heights and winning a regional championship, but winning one for the second year in a row and getting back to the state final four might even be more difficult.
If it comes down to talent, Oak Harbor’s girls softball team got enough to win a Sandusky Bay Conference Bay Division title and get back to the state tournament. But like last season, the Rockets will need great performances in the clutch.
The Rockets, seeded first in the Holland District, host (8) Northwood or (10) Metamora Evergreen on Friday in a Division III sectional final.
The team lost three key players from last season — Reagan Schultz, a pitcher who earned all-Ohio honors and is now playing at Kent State; Remi Gregory, a third baseman who played a key role for the Rockets, especially during the postseason run; and Sydney Overmyer, a steady presence in right field who is swimming at Wilmington College.
Oak Harbor, which is 18-3 and 7-1 in the Bay Division, has taken an aggressive approach at the plate with some fine pitching from Alyse Sorg and a defense that has backed her up. Sorg, a junior who started in the outfield in her first two seasons, has fared well in the circle in her first year as the starting pitcher. She is 17-3 with a 1.63 ERA to go with 110 strikeouts in 116.3 innings of work.
“I watched her pitch all summer. We had 30 games and I watched her continue to improve and grow her confidence,” said Oak Harbor coach Cami Haas. “Through the winter, I knew she was working on (getting better). I think Alyse has a lot of confidence in her defense — the pieces have really fit together. She’s fantastic, I couldn’t be more proud of how hard she’s worked.”
The Rockets might have a lineup that is even better than last year’s, and that’s saying something.
Center fielder Emily Sommers leads off and is hitting .397 to go with five doubles, two triples and 26 runs. Second baseman Hannah Schimmoeller is hitting .436 and leads the team with five home runs and 30 RBIs followed by 1B Porter Gregory (.453, 24 RBIs, 33 runs); SS Reese Adkins (.442, 3 HRs, 28 RBIs, 28 runs); Sorg (.403, 22 RBIs, 22 runs); 3B Karder Haas (.484, 19 RBIs), who has the best batting average on the team; DP Ava Geyer (.466, 18 RBIs); catcher Allie Giezie (.345, 11 RBIs) and LF Tatum Baumgartner (.406, 15 RBIs, 26 runs). Emma Hand plays right field and Hannah Perry and Kaitlyn Meloche are the reserves.
There are two marquee victories that stand out for Oak Harbor. The Rockets beat Huron, 10-2, in their first meeting and trounced Margaretta, 15-3, in the opener.
In the win over the Tigers, Oak Harbor jumped out to a 10-0 lead behind some big hits. Adkins went 3-for-5 with a double and a home run, Giezie and Sorg each had three hits and Gregory doubled and tripled. In the circle, Sorg allowed just two runs on two hits and struck out four.
In the victory over the Lady Bears, the Rockets broke a 2-2 tie with three runs in the fourth inning to take the lead for good and put things away with 10 runs in the fifth. Adkins went 4-for-4 with a double and three RBIs while Sommers, Sorg and Schimmoeller all doubled and Baumgartner tripled.
“The expectations were super high. The girls, even the freshmen, knew the expectations, and ran with them probably further than I could’ve expected,” said Cami Haas, who took over for Chris Rawski after he led the program for 11 years. “It’s kind of a contagious thing, they all push for each other; they all fight for each other. They’re working hard and that chemistry is something that can’t be taught.”
Regarding her defense and the job they’ve done, Haas said, “They’ve played together for so long. They’ve taken that role and completely ran with it. Karder and Reese, it’s almost like having two shortstops. They’re communicating, and Reese covers a ton of ground in terms of fly-ball territory.
“Hannah and Porter cover a lot of ground and know that you have to make the championship play. (They’re) going to do everything they can to get an out. Tatum has transferred well in the outfield; Emily is covering a fantastic amount of ground and Emma has stepped into that role. I’m just really proud of her transitioning from JV to varsity. If you could ask for a team player, she is the definition of that. I have coached her for four years now. And Allie is doing a very good job behind the plate,” she said.
It’s hard to pick from such a talented bunch, but Adkins might be the most complete player on the team.
“I think that our freshmen and our juniors have really shown up this year. We knew what we had to do, especially the junior class,” she said. “We knew we had to step up to the plate and show everyone what we have with what we were losing.
The juniors are Adkins, Sorg and Gregory and the freshmen are Karder Haas, Baumgartner and Meloche.
“I really worked hard in the off-season,” Adkins said. “I try to keep my focus on the game and block out emotions, keep my head focused and go play. You have nothing to lose.”
Adkins has high praise for Sorg.
“Alyse is doing absolutely phenomenally. She’s gotten her confidence (and found) her groove,” said Adkins. “I told her, ‘You’re really going to pull this team.’ Alyse and I are very close, all three of the juniors are close. We all rely on each other.”
Sorg talked about the time she invests in pitching.

“I work pretty hard. I see my pitching coach, Tami Summers, at least once every two weeks,” she said. “We work a lot on speed during the off-season. I try to pitch at least two to three times per week. I also pitch for my travel team during the summer and fall.”
Sorg also talked about playing for Haas and the rest of the coaches, one of whom is her father, Jeff.
“Cami Haas is very inspirational and is trusting in us. She helps us through adversity and keeps us focused. Rob Schimmoeller is the stat guy on our team. He does the research on the teams we face and keeps us informed,” she said. “Jeff Sorg tells the team what they need to hear and keeps us motivated in the dugout. Remi (Gregory) is the fun coach. She keeps us in a good mood and can relate to us on a player level.”


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