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UTICA — Utica’s Elizabeth Dyke faced 15 Licking Heights batters Wednesday in a home Licking County League matchup, and she sent them all back to the dugout in succession, recording the first perfect game of her career in a 12-0 Redskin win.
“It’s very exciting,” Dyke said. “I’ve never had that, so it’s awesome to have that, especially with my high school team. They definitely helped me out. My catcher did a great job tonight and my defense also did a great job.”
Dyke marched to the circle for the fifth inning with a 12-0 lead and a strong defense behind her. She answered the call by racking up three-straight strikeouts to end the game after five innings due to the run rule.
Coming into the game, the plan was to not have Dyke pitch the entire game, but the gameplan changed when there was a perfect game on the line.
“We’re always pretty confident in what she can do,” Utica coach Josh Sichina said. “She’s a senior and she’s deserved the right to get through it until she gives up a hit. I’m just excited for her and what she’s accomplished to this point and what she’s going to accomplish in the future.”
Dyke finished with 11 strikeouts on the night. The biggest trouble came in the fourth inning with a shot to left field, but Shayla Estep hauled in the grab. On the next at-bat, Utica catcher Olivia Rodeniser snared a pop-up in foul territory to end the inning.
In addition to taking care of business on the rubber, the Redskins had a strong night at the plate. On the first pitch by a Hornet pitcher, Taylor Heckman hit the ball to the fence and she sped around the bases for an inside-the-park home run to give Utica an early lead. Scarlett Elliott, Dyke and Rodeniser each scored in the first to put the Redskins ahead 4-0.
Heckman scored again in the second inning on an RBI double by Elliott, who later scored on a wild pitch. Estep blasted a solo-shot over the fence in the second to push the lead to 7-0 heading into the third.
Leah Swetnam scored in the third, followed quickly by Heckman’s third run of the game. With Sydney Hoover on third, Elliott, who has a home run in all six of Utica’s games so far this spring, sent a ball over the left-field fence.
“It felt really good off the bat,” Elliott said. “I didn’t know for sure, so I just kept running until coach Tony Hoover said it was gone.”
Dyke scored her second run of the game in the third to push the lead to 12-0.
When the dust settled, Elliott led the way, going 3 of 3 at the plate with three runs, a double, a homer, a stolen base and four RBI. Heckman went 2 of 2 with three runs scored, a home run, a stolen base, a walk and an RBI. Estep’s solo-shot put her at 2 of 3 with a run, a double and two RBI. Swetnam chipped in a double and an RBI on two hits.
Hornets pitcher Kayla Siddell pitched four innings for Licking Heights, surrendering 12 hits and 12 runs, but she did tally nine strikeouts.
The Redskins improved their season record to 6-0 with a 2-0 record in the LCL. They have outscored their opponents 64-12 so far this spring and look to continue that Friday at home against Heath with a first pitch set for 5 p.m.
“This is obviously the start we want and hopefully we can just keep playing like a team like we are,” Elliott said. “We’re just really connecting this year and hopefully it keeps up.”