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Bombs away
Times photo: Adam Krebs Monroe senior Maggie Schuttler launches the second of her two home runs during the fourth inning of the Cheesemakers' 12-4 win over Madison Edgewood on Tuesday.
MONROE - After scoring just one run during a three-game losing streak, Cheesemaker softball coach Dale Buvid has his team practicing hitting, hustling and forcing the issue on the base paths. His players took note and exploded for a 12-4 win over Madison Edgewood on Tuesday.

"It's good to win again. It's been a while since we last lost three conference games in a row," Buvid said.

Monroe opened the game producing runs. Maggie Schuttler slapped a shot down the first-base line with one out and then beat out a fielder's choice throw on an Emily Rufenacht hit up the middle. Brandi Trewartha loaded the bases by beating out an infield single into the hole at short and Kelsey Erickson's single up the middle gave the Cheesemakers a 1-0 lead. Coree Lee added two more runs with a single down the third-base line.

"It was good to get started there in the first inning," Buvid said. "You have to hit the ball hard. We hit the ball in some gaps and over some people's heads. We haven't been doing that lately."

Still not cured of mistakes, Monroe made things interesting in the top of the second inning.

Edgewood put runners on every base with a single out and twice hit into a fielder's choice where the fielder failed to make the tag on a baserunner. A sprawling catch by Trewartha in shallow center avoided two more runs scoring with bases loaded and two outs.

"Brandi made the play of the game. If that ball drops we're behind 5-3," Buvid said. "We just didn't play well defensively that inning. It was ugly. Our confidence was already shaken and we started looking for what was going to go wrong next."

The Cheesemakers quickly responded on offense.

Jessica Beckman walked and Paisley Bennett doubled to center, scoring Beckman from first. Schuttler then hit a two-run, inside-the-park home run to the right field fence, giving Monroe the final runs it would need.

"We recovered nicely at the plate. That two-run home run was about as big as Brandi's catch," Buvid said.

Schuttler took the teachings that Buvid preached in practice to heart.

"Buvid has preached that we have to have confidence in our hitting. So we worked a lot on hand-eye stuff, and it just worked," she said.

Schuttler made it a two-homer night with a solo inside-the-parker in the fourth with two outs. The ball caromed off the fence in center and Schuttler stayed at full speed, blowing by Buvid at third on her way to home.

"He told me to take a chance, so I went," Schuttler said. The homers were the first two of Schuttler's career. "I'll try to hit it over the fence next time. That's kind of my goal."

Buvid was pleased his star center fielder kept her wheels churning.

"We had two outs and it's kind of a no-brainer. There's a 50/50 chance she'll make it. She runs well and she made it happen," he said.

Monroe scored two more runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.

"We got a lot of contributions from our kids off the bench," Buvid said. "It's not all going to come back in one night, but this is a significant step to get back to where we were at the start of the season and where we want to be come playoffs."

Monroe had 18 hits. Schuttler was 3-for-4 with the two homers, Trewartha also was 3-4 with a double, Rufenacht was 2-3, Kelsey Erickson was 2-3 with a triple. Seven other players had hits, including four pinch hits.

Meghan Roberts picked up the win and Kristin McArdle pitched the final 1 1/3 innings in relief.

The Cheesemakers (11-9, 6-3 Badger South) host Oregon (9-6, 5-2) on Friday.