Apollo stringing together softball wins

Over the last three weeks of the high school softball season, Apollo’s strung together wins in nine of its last 10 outings — and the E-Gals are hoping to carry their midseason momentum into the final stretch of the year.

Apollo improved to 15-10 overall with Tuesday’s 8-2 victory against visiting South Spencer (Ind.), recording 13 hits while sophomore pitcher Hannah Holder struck out four batters and allowed two hits in the complete-game effort.

Offensively, the E-Gals were led by sophomore third baseman Arianna Ramirez (4-for-4, two doubles, four RBIs) and senior shortstop Mallory Velotta (3-for-3, three runs, home run) — two of the team’s most productive contributors this season.

On the year, Ramirez is hitting a team-best .442 while leading Apollo with 20 RBIs and 11 doubles. She’s also belted a trio of home runs and remains a steady defensive presence.

“She’s been starting at third base for us since she was in the seventh grade, so this is her fourth year of varsity experience,” E-Gals head coach Stephen Julian said. “She can swing it, and she saw it well [against South Spencer]. She’s having a great season.”

Meanwhile, Velotta is batting .422 while pacing Apollo with 22 runs scored and five home runs, along with two homers.

“She’s another one — she’s been a starter since her freshman year,” Julian added. “She’s had a good season so far.”

They haven’t done it alone, either. Apollo’s coaching staff regularly works to spread out varsity experience as much as possible, which has helped their younger players find a rhythm along the way. Against South Spencer, 15 different players saw the field.

“The girls are coming around,” Julian said. “I think they’re buying into their roles and what our team is going to need from them. We play a lot of kids every game. I play 12 to 15 kids almost every game, in some role.

“It’s important to get them some experience at the varsity level.”

Other top offensive producers include sophomore outfielder Taylor Clark (.397, 19 runs, 17 RBIs, two home runs); junior catcher Macy Calhoun (.323, 19 RBIs, seven doubles, 14 walks); freshman outfielder Tyler Hall (17 RBIs, 14 runs, six doubles, four home runs); junior first baseman Abie Butterworth (10 RBIs); and sophomore outfielder Liza Page (12 runs), among others.

In the circle, Apollo leans on freshman pitcher Mollie Julian (1.97 earned-run average, 75 strikeouts) and Holder (2.58 ERA, 43 strikeouts).

With seven regular-season matchups remaining, starting with Thursday’s home game against Madisonville-North Hopkins, Apollo wants to continue improving.

“We’re getting there,” Julian said. “We had kind of a letdown Friday (a 4-1 loss to Trigg County) and didn’t play well in that game, but we’re hoping to peak at the right time. Hopefully, this is us getting to that point, but time will tell.

“We’ve got to shore up our defense. We can’t give away extra bases or extra pitches. We gave up a lot of unearned runs this year, so we just need to grow from that and make teams earn it against us — a big part of that is making the routine plays.”