Roughriders continue hit parade; win 11-4

By Chris Miles

April 30, 2014

The New York Yankees lineup in the late 1920s was affectionately known as Murderer’s Row.

The nickname referred to the top six hitters in the lineup which included all-time greats Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. That team struck fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers and managers. There were no easy outs, no way to pitch around a batter and thus made that team very difficult to beat.

The West Jefferson High School version of perhaps the greatest hitting team ever can be found on the school’s softball diamond. The Roughriders (13-3, 8-0 in MSL Ohio) lineup is loaded with top-notch hitters and it has been making life miserable for opposing pitchers for most of the season.

The Bobcats of Grandview Heights got an up close look of the powerful West Jefferson lineup on Tuesday, April 29, as the teams squared off in a Mid-State League Ohio Division battle at West Jeff. The Roughriders powered their way to an 11-4 victory, marking the 10th time this season they’ve scored double figure runs (two other nine run games).

The modern day Murderer’s Row includes the likes of Taylor Bowman, Madison Gatley, Kennedy Campbell, Emily Stevenson, Taylor Kauser, Annie Haenszel and Emma Fisher, but there are plenty of others who have helped make the Roughriders one of the best hitting teams in all of Central Ohio.

“We came out and stayed pretty hot with our sticks tonight,” coach Jim Stevens said.

West Jeff banged out 13 hits in the win on Tuesday, scored six runs in the first inning and never looked back. The offensive fireworks weren’t as flashy as they were over the weekend when West Jeff hit six home runs in the first inning of its game against Worthington Christian.

Kauser hit the team’s only home run in the game against Grandview, a solo shot in the second inning.

He knows his team has been hitting it very well all season long and Stevens even admits that he doesn’t even worry about the hitting machine slowing down any time soon.

“This year I can honestly say that our hitting is the one thing I don’t worry about,” he said. “Everybody has been making contact and we haven’t had too many strikeouts. Our girls are focused right now at the plate.”

Haenszel was solid inside the circle, her only hiccup was allowing a three-run home run in the bottom of the third inning. Other than that she allowed just six hits in the game. The game was originally scheduled to be played at Grandview, but field conditions forced the move to West Jefferson High School where the Bobcats played as the home team.

With the win, West Jefferson stayed perfect in league play and eye not only a league crown, but a high seed in the upcoming D-III Central District tournament. The district tournament draw will take place on Sunday, May 4.

“We’ve got to continue to take it one game at a time,” Stevens said. “Naturally our league game are important games, we stayed undefeated in the league with this win tonight. But we’ve got to stay focused as a team.”

Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 18 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.