STOW — If Emma Spoerke continues to play like she has this week, it's going to be nearly impossible for Wadsworth softball coach Mike Schmeltzer Sr. to keep her out of the lineup.
In only her third multi-plate appearance of the season, the junior led the Grizzlies to a 9-0 Suburban League National Conference win over Stow on Thursday.
The designated player went 3-for-4 and reached base four times. She finished a triple short of the cycle and had five RBIs.
"She'll run through a brick wall for you," Schmeltzer said. "You tell her to do anything and she'll do it. She's very, very coachable. If you tell her to make an adjustment with her hands, she'll make an adjustment with her hands right then and there. She's just one of those kids that soaks in the information. She has great work ethic."
In wins over Twinsburg and the Bulldogs (3-5, 2-4) this week, Spoerke is 5-for-7 with six RBIs and five runs.
"I have just really been trying to work my way to the top," Spoerke said. "I go to a hitting coach. I've really tried to relax and work on my swing. This week was all about getting to know my swing and just remembering how to hit the ball again. Confidence is huge. If you go out there without confidence or doubt yourself for a single second, it's not going to happen."
Spoerke was true to her word and came through every time the Grizzlies (7-3, 3-1) had runners on base.
With the bases loaded in the third, Spoerke reached on an infield single. In the fifth, she drove in a run with a double to right-center. She saved her best for last, smacking a three-run home run to center in the seventh. All five of her RBIs came with two outs.
"This is her first year up (on varsity) and she has progressed," Schmeltzer said. "I think just being around the older kids in the batting cage, the kids feed off each other. She's just got that confidence to go up there and strike the ball."
Eight of Wadsworth's nine runs came with two outs and the Grizzlies went down in order just twice.
"It's huge never to give up on an inning," said Emily Whitaker, who went 2-for-3 with a double, RBI and run. "It doesn't matter how many outs you have, you can still start a rally. You can still get people in. You can still keep hitting."
Spotted an early lead, senior Emily Cingle (6-1) allowed three hits, walked three and struck out eight. She allowed just two runners after the second inning.
"That's been her all year," Schmeltzer said. "She's not going to overpower anyone, but I'll tell you she works the ball up and down and side to side and has confidence. She's a smart, smart pitcher. She knows what she's doing."
A season ago, the Grizzlies came to the Doug Hawkins Softball Complex and did nearly everything right in a Barberton Division I Sectional final against Stow but were 2-0 hard-luck losers.
"We talked about it before we came here," Cingle said. "We knew we had to do well here today."
Wadsworth 9, Stow 0
WADSWORTH 113 100 3 - 9 11 1
STOW 000 000 0 - 0 3 2
Emily Cingle (6-1) 7 innings, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts.
Macie Bell (0-2) 3 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs, 4 earned.
Wadsworth (7-3, 3-1) -
Emma Spoerke single, double, home run, 5 RBIs, 3 runs; Emily Whitaker single, double, RBI, run; Cassidy McDougal double, 2 RBIs.
Stow (3-5, 2-4) -
Natalie Hosey double.