When Sidney Giles began to struggle in Thursday’s Hauser Sectional final, Jets coach Craig Sims had another pitcher in which to turn in Kali Schumacher.
Then, when Schumacher began to struggle, Sims knew he could go back to Giles.
That’s the way it’s been all season for Hauser, which captured its first sectional title since 2007 with a 6-3 win against Edinburgh. The Jets will host Class A No. 2 Rising Sun in the regional at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“Whenever one would struggle, the other one would come in and finish up,” Giles said. “It’s a teamwork effort. It’s not just a one-person game.”
Giles has been the starter for most of the season, while Schumacher typically comes on in relief. The sophomores have played a major role in Hauser’s third-place finish in the Mid-Hoosier Conference and the sectional title.
“She does her job first, and if she struggles, I’m there to back her up and finish the game,” Schumacher said.
“The switches have came because it’s a need-be situation,” Sims said. “It’s not like I’m saying ‘You’re going to pitch three innings, and you’re going to pitch three innings.’ As a coach, I’m looking at what’s best for the team. When we get in trouble, we have to make a switch.”
The pitchers have contrasting styles. Giles is a power pitcher and reaches speeds in the upper 50s. Schumacher throws in the low 50s and is more of a finesse pitcher.
“It throws batters off with one fast pitcher, and then a slower pitcher,” Schumacher said.
“I think that it throws teams off because we have different pitching styles and different speeds and different movement on the ball,” Giles said. “It knocks them off balance.”
“Kali is more of a location pitcher, and when she locates the ball and keeps it down, she can be successful,” Sims said. “Sid throws the ball harder, and Sid has all the abilities. It’s the six inches between her eyes. She has to get better mentally, and she’s going to mature and get better mentally as she gets older.”
The Jets had almost everybody back from last year’s team, but lost pitcher Bree Lange to graduation. That left a huge hole to fill.
Sims received a big boost when Schumacher moved in from Jennings County, and Giles moved in from Edinburgh. Giles saw some varsity action behind Jennifer Stinson at Edinburgh, while Schumacher was a junior varsity pitcher for the Panthers.
“Moving here and having the entire team rely on me on the mound was a huge change, knowing that I had to pitch big games and do my job; or if I didn’t, it would go downhill,” Giles said.
“I’ve gotten a lot more pitching time here, and I feel like I’ve gotten better because of the more pitching time,” Schumacher said. “I like it a lot better here.”
This season, Giles has gone 11-8 with a 4.11 ERA in 92 innings pitched. Schumacher is 3-3 with a 5.16 ERA in 61 innings for Hauser, which has bounced back from an 0-4 start.
“Going into this season, my expectation was a lot higher of this team,” Sims said. “About Game 3, I put things in perspective and realized my expectations were probably a little higher than what they should have been.
“When they were pitching in the gym when we were inside, I thought we were going to be really good,” he said. “Then our first three games, I’m thinking ‘We’re in a lot of trouble here pitching.’ They have both improved tremendously over the season.”
The Jets fell to Rising Sun 5-0 on April 25. Giles gave up five runs on seven hits in three innings before Schumacher came in allowed only one a baserunner on an an error over the final three innings.
“We held Rising Sun fairly well,” Giles said. “It was early in the season, and we had a lot of stuff on our minds, but we need to get hits together. We need to get our team to click offensively against a very good hitting team and a very good defensive team. We need to hold them and hit our spots and make every routine play.”
Because of Schumacher’s performance against the Shiners during the regular season, Sims plans to start her on Tuesday.
“Her off-speed threw them off,” Sims said. “Can she go seven innings against them? I doubt it. It’s probably going to take both of them, but I’m hoping her offspeed can maintain them a little bit.”
“I feel like coming off a win from (Thursday) night, we have good chances for Tuesday,” Schumacher said. “I feel good about it.”