Both offense, defense clicks in 10-0 victory over Fisher Catholic
PICKERINGTON — It only took half an inning for the Danville softball team to take over the Division IV district semifinal tournament game against Fisher Catholic of Lancaster on Monday.
The Blue Devils, the top seed in the Central District, scored in every inning until they reached 10 runs in the fifth and defeated the Irish 10-0 in the five-inning game at Pickerington Central High School in Pickerington.
Pitcher Samantha Lavender, back in a groove after recently returning from an injury, only allowed two Fisher Catholic hits and struck out eight while the offense had 13 hits by eight different players — with two of the starters nursing hand injuries.
“We’ve overcome a lot of adversity this season. I’m so proud of my team,” Lavender said after shutting out the Irish. “Coming into this game, I was just taking it inning by inning. This ankle injury has just put me back this entire season.”
Lavender walked the first batter she faced, but then got strikeouts for two of the three outs before the poised and ready Danville offense came the plate for the first time.
The first Blue Devil batter McKinley Alberts beat out an infield hit and then advanced to third on a groundout. Kaitlynn Briggs then walked and Lavender helped the team from the plate with a base hit that scored Alberts. Bobbi Berger then drove in the second run and Danville was quickly ahead 2-0.
“The schedule that we play in the season is all for our postseason,” said head coach Jill Lyons. “We have so much respect for teams in our conference. We play in a great conference and we definitely took losses in that conference. But all we do is we try to instill in our girls that this is going to prepare us for postseason so we’re not surprised at anything that is thrown at us.”
After a 1-2-3 inning in Fisher Catholic’s half of the second inning, Danville continued with their aggressive offense and increased their lead to 5-0.
Hannah Duncan and Brittney Holt both had singles to start the second inning, and both scored, as did Alberts, after a series of groundouts, walks and wild pitches that advanced runners one base at a time.
“We try to have (the players) look for their pitch and be selective until they find the one that they want,” Lyons said. “We’ve really been working on really looking for your pitch to drive and don’t fall into what (the pitcher) wants you to swing at.”
Danville scored once in the third after hits by Duncan and Jasmine Anderson — then Briggs blasted a two-run home run to left that scored Daleigh Parker in the fourth inning to make the score 8-0. The game was called after the Lady Devils scored twice more in the fifth.
Lavender almost followed Briggs’ homer with one of her own, but her shot to right center bounced off the top of the fence and fell into play.
“My catcher, Kaitlynn Briggs, she always hypes me up,” Lavender said. “I hate to follow that, she’s an awesome hitter. I’m blessed. Not a lot of pitchers get to do the double duty and I’m thankful for that that Coach Lyons trusts me.”
Duncan finished the game with three hits and three runs scored, while Berger, Anderson and Alberts all had two hits apiece. Alberts and Briggs both had two RBI.
Danville advances to the district finals and will play the winner of Newark Catholic/Ridgedale — which is today — and the day and time will be determined later in the week.