Severely inexperienced in spots and missing one of its best players due to injury, the Jonathan Alder High School softball team had built-in excuses heading into a prime time clash against North Union Saturday at Pastime Park in Plain City.
However no excuses were necessary, the Lady Pioneers shook off a slow start and came away with an impressive 5-3 win, putting a smile on coach Dave McGrew’s face.
“We’re not deep, we’re inexperienced in spots and throw in an injury to one of our three best players,” he said. “But to come through this stretch in the schedule with a 6-1 record is pretty good. We knew we would be in a dogfight with them. But we found a way to make things happen.”
North Union scored a pair of runs off Alder starting pitcher Katelyn Perkins in the top of the first inning. But the host Pioneers didn’t fold. Despite a cold front passing through the area just before game time, one that blew stiff cold winds across the park, the Alder offense came alive.
Perkins helped her cause with a 2-run double in the third. The Pioneers added a couple more runs in the fourth and tacked on another for good measure in the fifth.
With the win the Lady Pioneers proved to their coach that they’ve got what it takes to knock off good opponents even when they’re not at their very best.
“We’ve been leaving a lot of runners on base,” McGrew said. “We need to do a better job of getting timely hits and we did that on Saturday.
“The girls are starting buy-in on the little things, the little things we work on in practice every day are going to make a difference. They’re starting to understand that.”
Alder will play at Benjamin Logan Thursday, April 19 at 5:15 p.m. before traveling to Ashland for the Wendy’s Classic. The Pioneers will play Walsh Jesuit Friday, April 20 at 4:30 p.m. and then will play a game later that evening against either Syracuse (NY) Cicero North or Donovan Catholic (NJ).
“We’ve played tough schedules in the past, but these are teams like we’ve never seen,” McGrew said. “It’ll be interesting to see how it goes.”
London pounds Centennial
The Red Raiders (3-6, 1-1 in MSL Ohio) had mixed results as they stepped out of Mid-State League play over the weekend.
The team dropped a 11-1 decision at North Union Friday, but then split a non-league doubleheader on Saturday. The team topped Centennial 17-2 before falling 5-4 against Dublin Scioto in games played at Scioto.
In the loss to North Union, the Raiders collected three hits. Ashley Riegel had two singles and Alexis Clark had a hit. Serena Crawford suffered the loss inside the pitching circle.
London jumped all over Centennial’s pitching Saturday morning, banging out 12 hits in the lopsided victory.
Makayla Ratliff had two doubles and 3 RBI, Taylor Riegel had a double and 2 RBI, Cadence Doughman had a pair of hits. While the collection of Crawford, Kennedy Nickell, Lilly Marriott, Ashley Riegel, Ryleigh Bexfield, Lexi Zabloudil and Kelsey Boggs all had singles in the win.
Crawford was the winning pitcher limiting the Stars to just one hit.
Host Scioto scored a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull out the victory in the second game Saturday.
Doughman and Crawford had two hits each, Taylor Riegel had a two hits and 2 RBI. Clark added a double, Boggs had a triple, while Ratliff, Taylor Holloway and Zabloudil had hits.
West Jeff tops Southeastern, 13-6
The Roughriders (6-4) bounced back from a loss to North Union on Thursday by throttling host Southeastern Friday.
West Jeff scored a pair of runs in the top of the first inning and added four more in the second. The ’Riders led 8-1 in the fourth and 13-2 after six and a half innings. Southeastern scored four times in the bottom of the seventh inning but it came up well short.
“It was a good league win for us after dropping one to North Union,” West Jeff coach Jim Stevens said. “We need to take it one game at a time.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.
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