The first full week of the spring sports season is in the books and the teams from Madison County are off and running. Baseball and softball teams dodged raindrops, battled windy conditions and wet surfaces to get one step closer to nice weather.
Jonathan Alder 4,
West Jefferson 0
A season-opening loss to a good Bishop Hartley team may be the best thing that happens to the Jonathan Alder softball squad this season.
The Pioneers (2-1), a team that prides itself on playing solid defense, surrendered four unearned runs in a 7-6 defeat against the Hawks. But the feeling the team had following the defeat could linger a long time.
“Hartley is a good team with a good pitcher but our girls felt like they should’ve won that game,” Alder coach Dave McGrew said. “It left a bad taste in their mouths. I think that loss helped to get us ready for last weekend.”
The Pioneers hosted their county rivals and wasted no time jumping out on top. Alder scored three runs in the home half of the first inning and never looked back. Mady Watson limited the Roughriders to just four hits, while Brooke Foster and Kayla Fredendall led the way offensively.
“We were hoping to bounce back and we did,” McGrew said. “We had a couple chances to blow it open, but West Jeff is a good team and they kept fighting. We got up early and were able to get a good win.”
Alder had an inning where they loaded the bases and didn’t score and another promising inning that resulted in no runs. Those things occurring in early season games is one thing, the coach said he hopes the frequency of lost opportunities fade away as the season progresses.
“We’ve got to be smarter on the basepaths and we’ve got to continue to work on coming through with hits in key situations,” he said.
Alder had eight hits in the game compared to just four for the Roughriders (1-2). Watson got the win inside the circle, while West Jeff’s Annie Haenszel suffered the loss.
Jonathan Alder 3,
Big Walnut 1
The Pioneers picked up another win on the day Saturday, April 5, when it stopped visiting Big Walnut.
The biggest positive that came out of the game was the fact junior Andi Blankenship fired four shutout innings for the Pioneers, who are going to need a second reliable pitcher. Blankenship got the win and Mady Watson came in to shut the door and get the save.
“We’re going to play good defense,” the coach said. “We just need our pitchers to throw strikes and compete. It was a good first week for us.”
Big Walnut 10,
West Jefferson 3
The Roughriders dropped their second game of the day Saturday, April 5, with a loss against Big Walnut.
The Eagles scored four runs in each of the first two quarters and West Jeff was unable to recover.
The Red Raiders went toe-to-toe with the powerful Hawks Saturday, April 5 and came up just a little short in a game played at Hartley.
London scratched across a run in the top of the second inning, but watched the home team bounce back off two of their own in the home half of the frame. Hartley added a third run in the bottom of the third to go ahead 3-1.
The Raiders got a run in the fourth but couldn’t get any closer.
Lauren Miller limited the Hawks to just four hits in suffering the hard-luck loss. London only had three hits one each from Baylee Semler, Alicia Baldwin and Talia Frye. Frye also had the only RBI for the team.
Grove City Christian 7
The Red Raiders powered their way to the win Saturday, in a game also played at Hartley. London scored eight runs in the critical third inning.
London had 13 hits, and capitalized on nine Christian errors. London was far from perfect in the field as they committed seven miscues.
Miller got the win inside the circle. Rachel Long had three hits, including a triple. Alli Farley had three hits and two RBI, while Frye had three hits and three runs batted in. Taylor Melillo also had three hits.
Shekinah Christian 8,
Shekinah Christian 12,
The Flames (2-2) swept a doubleheader from visiting Madison County foe Madison-Plains Saturday, April 5.
Kenkade Snyder and Nate Jeffers suffered the two losses for the Golden Eagles.
In the second game, Madison-Plains got doubles from Jake Vallery, Jordan Naeder and Matt Jeffers, stolen bases from Zach Bayless (2), Vallery, Neader, Nate Jeffers and Brandon Gartin. RBI came from Snyder (3), Nate Jeffers (3), Vallery (2), Matt Jeffers and Gartin.
The Red Raiders (2-2) dropped a pair of tough games Saturday, April 5, at Lancaster.
Senior pitcher Brok Bennett suffered the loss on the hill for London. The Golden Gales had a total of 13 hits for the game, while London collected eight hits of its own.
Zach Jacobs took the loss in game two of the doubleheader, where London could only muster three hits for the game.
The team will return to action Wednesday, April 9, when it hosts Whitehall. It will then travel to Bexley Friday, April 11.
West Jefferson 2,
The Roughriders (2-3, 1-0 in MSL) got the second strong pitching effort of the season from Caleb Ferguson as he fired a two-hit shutout of the host Lions Friday, April 4. The dominant lefty struck out 13 batters in the win.
Ferguson spun a shutout of Urbana in the team’s season opener March 31.
West Jefferson 6
The weekend wasn’t nearly as kind to West Jefferson as it dropped a pair of games against Northwestern Saturday, April 5.
Starting pitcher Alex Wihl suffered the loss for the Roughriders. West Jeff had six hits in the loss, two coming off the bat of Zach Campbell.
West Jefferson 6
A four-run sixth inning got the Roughriders to within a pair of runs during game two of their doubleheader but could get no closer in the loss.
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 18 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.