MASON — It’s not realistic to expect every member of a batting lineup to get a hit every time they come to the plate, but Jonathan Alder High School softball coach Dave McGrew is starting to get to that point.
His Lady Pioneers (19-6) continued to tear the cover off of the ball during a 14-5 Division II regional semifinal victory over Kenton Ridge (23-2) Wednesday at Mason High School. The win sends Alder to a regional championship against Clinton-Massie Saturday, May 26 at noon back at Mason High School.
“I feel like when these kids come to the plate they’re going to get hits every time, I love it,” McGrew said. “Our top is solid, but our middle and bottom are all hitting the ball really well.”
Alder opened the scoring in the top of the first inning when Lindsey Potter walked, was sacrificed to second base by Emily Walker and scored on a Jillian Jakse RBI single. Kenton Ridge, who split the regular season match-ups with the Pioneers answered back with a run of its own.
Neither team scored in the second inning, but that would all change in the third. Sophie Thomas and Potter both singled, Thomas was forced out at third base on a Walker fielder’s choice and Jakse reached on an error, loading the bases for Katelyn Perkins. Perkins delivered a sacrifice fly to right, making it 2-1 Pioneers.
Cierra Clark then connected on a 2-run double making it 4-1. Angela Brandel followed with an RBI double of her own and Alder was suddenly ahead 5-1. The Cougars failed to score in the home half of the third and the Alder hit parade continued in the fourth.
Olivia McCoy walked, Thomas reached on an error and both scored when Jakse launched a 3-run homer deep to left. Perkins followed with a double and Clark delivered an RBI single. In the fifth McCoy doubled, Thomas walked and Potter hit a 3-run home run to center putting Alder up 12-1.
Kenton Ridge got a pair of runs off of Alder starter Perkins in the bottom of the fifth to extend the game and and avoid the run-rule. In the seventh the Pioneers struck for a couple more runs, again in a rally triggered by the bottom of its lineup. McCoy doubled and Thomas reached on an infield hit. Emily Walker and Perkins both delivered RBI singles to close the scoring.
“We have been so good, we’re peaking right now,” McGrew said. “We have played 10 state-ranked teams and I think we were 5-5, 4-6 maybe. But (Jillian) Jakse was down and we had to move kids around, like everybody else we went 2-3 weeks without being able to get out on the dirt and practice and then everything changed.
“We got Jillian back, we start to move pieces back around and we’re a better team. Bottom line is we’re hitting the ball and (Katelyn Perkins) is really throwing well, we’re in a good spot right now.”
The Pioneers will face a stiff challenge in Clinton-Massie who eliminated Greenville also Wednesday.
“We scouted them, we’re going to see a good pitcher,” McGrew said. “She throws the ball hard, it’ll be a dog fight. We will have our girls ready. One thing I will say is we are never not prepared. We’ll be ready. We just beat a fantastic team, Kenton Ridge is very good and we’ll see another Saturday.
“This is where our schedule pays off. We still haven’t had that clean game defensively, but we keep on hitting and finding a way to win.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.
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