Donald W. Wilson
If you’re a fan of cold weather and hot offense, Thursday night’s game in Delaware was just your speed.
The host Hayes Pacers shook off their Tuesday loss to Liberty, belting their way to a 10-2 lead after four innings, but the visiting Olentangy Braves scored 13 runs in the next two innings to rally for a 15-10 win in non-league action at a chilly Pacer Park.
“We were hitting the ball pretty well in the first four innings, but so were they,” Olentangy coach Marty Mearhoff said. “We got three runs in the fifth inning, but we started stringing hits together in the sixth. We ran the bases well and the next thing we know, we’ve scored 10 runs.”
“I was pleased with how the bats came alive and how we scored a lot of runs,” Hayes coach Mark Thomas said. “I think we got a little lackadaisical after scoring some of those runs, but we battled, and after what we did on Tuesday night, I am very proud of our girls.”
Olentangy (1-0) took an early 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by sophomore Hailey Wilson, but Hayes (0-2) scored three times in the bottom half of the inning on a run-scoring single from freshman Jordan Osborne, an RBI double by sophomore Kaitlyn Woerner and another RBI hit from sophomore Chandler Fields.
Hayes seemed poised to put the game away in the bottom of the second, scoring six runs on an Abbey Frey RBI single, a three-run double by Woerner and back-to-back RBI doubles from Rebekah Hire and Fields.
Olentangy cut the lead by a run in the top of the fourth when freshman Missy Lee drew a bases-loaded walk to force senior Mandy Rodriguez home, but the Braves left the bases loaded without scoring again.
The Pacers got the run back in the bottom half when Hire drew a one-out walk, moved to second on a Biz Brehm wild pitch, stole third and scored ahead of the throw home on a fielder’s choice by junior Hannah Tucky.
Olentangy would not let its opportunities slip away again. The Braves sent nine batters to the plate in the fifth inning and scored three times to cut their deficit to five, 10-5, then, after a 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth, sent 14 batters up in the sixth and scored 10 times on nine hits, the biggest coming when Brehm belted a three-run home run to right-center field.
Brehm, who relieved Wilson in the second, shut down the Pacer bats the rest of the way, allowing just one hit, a leadoff double by Frey in the sixth, in her final 3 1/3 innings for the win. Brehm worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run, one hit and one walk with two strikeouts.
Wilson didn’t have her best outing in the circle, giving up nine runs in 1 1/3 innings, but was stellar at the plate, going 5 for 5 with a double, three runs scored and three RBIs to lead the Olentangy offense. Brehm went 4 for 5 with her three-run home run, three runs scored and three more RBIs.
“Hailey worked hard and showed a lot of composure in the circle, and she’s just a sophomore,” Mearhoff said. “Her emotional state is very steady and she’s very poised. She didn’t have her best night in the circle, but at the plate, she didn’t let anything faze her.”
Megan Beidelman was 3 for 5 with a double, two runs and one RBI, Rodriguez finished 3 for 4 with two runs, Lee closed 2 for 3 with two runs, three walks and one RBI, and Brooke Ring went 2 for 5, also driving in a run.
“I’m very proud of Biz and Hailey and all the girls tonight,” Mearhoff said. “Every one of them contributed.”
Junior Phoebe Lewis was the lone pitcher on the Hayes roster, but still pitched well despite taking the brunt of the Olentangy offensive onslaught. Lewis allowing 12 earned runs on 22 hits with four walks and four strikeouts in her seven innings, but worked through the difficult innings, throwing 134 pitches, 76 for strikes.
“I am especially proud of Phoebe,” Thomas said. “She pitched a nice ballgame. They got some true base hits off of her and we made some mistakes behind her, but I’m very proud of her. She was our only pitcher tonight, and she knew that, and she tigered up.”
The Hayes offense came alive after recording only three hits Tuesday. Woerner went 2 for 4 and drove in a game-high four runs, with two doubles and two runs scored. Fields was 2 for 3 with a double and three RBIs, and Frey finished 2 for 4 with a double, one run and one RBI.
Hire was 1 for 2 with a double, RBI and two runs, while Osborne was 1 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Alaina Manor was 1 for 2 and scored twice while Lindsey Blair was 1 for 3 with a run scored.
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