Getting victories has been somewhat tough for the Olentangy softball team, but tenacity has never been a problem for the Braves.
Olentangy showed its no-quit attitude again Thursday, rallying from a 5-1 deficit to the Marysville Monarchs to take a 10-7 Ohio Capital Conference Cardinal Division victory at Olentangy High School.
“I was proud of the girls for battling back,” Olentangy coach Marty Mearhoff said. “We had a huge hitting night. We just pounded the ball, top to bottom. Everyone chipped in, and we got those seven runs in the third. They never quit when they get down. They always battle.”
“Hitting was definitely contagious tonight,” Braves senior pitcher Biz Brehm said. “Once one of us started, everybody went. It was great. It felt good. I was struggling but I worked a little with (assistant) Coach (Misty) McVey today and felt pretty good in the game.”
Olentangy (5-8, 2-5 OCC Cardinal) won the game with offense. After a five-run Marysville (12-3, 5-2) second inning, the Braves rallied with seven runs of their own in the third to take the lead for good.
But pitching and defense were still big keys to the win. Brehm went the distance, surviving the second inning for the win, allowing just one earned run in her final five innings. Brehm surrendered six earned runs, 13 hits and two walks total, but struck out three.
“Biz has pitched two great games in a row,” Mearhoff said. “She went 10 innings against Westerville North last night and we had excellent defense and pitching, as did Westerville North, then tonight, our bats came out.”
“We played great defense the whole time,” Brehm said. “I just wasn’t putting the ball where they needed to make a play. We went 10 innings yesterday, so I had to get back in my groove. I made my adjustments and our defense did great.”
The Braves got out of a small first inning jam, then scored the first run in the bottom half of the inning when freshman second baseman Missy Lee blasted a triple to the fence in right center field and scored when sophomore center fielder Hailey Wilson rocketed a single through the first baseman’s legs.
“Hailey is a pure hitter,” Mearhoff said. “She worked the count full after being down 1-2, so she’s battling and the pitcher’s battling. She had a lot of foul balls to stay alive, then hit a shot past the first baseman down the line. She had a great day today.”
But the Monarchs’ first five batters reached base in the second and three more hit safely after Olentangy got the first out of the inning. Marysville would leave a pair of runners stranded in the frame, two of 10 on the day.
The Braves had trouble starting in the second, but got right to work in the third. Lee reached on a fielding error by the Monarch shortstop and went to third when Wilson ripped a double into the right center field gap.
Brehm knocked home a run with a single down the right field line, and junior designated player Megan Beidelman drove another home with a single to left. Senior shortstop Amanda Wojta then loaded the bases with another single to left.
Senior right fielder Mandy Rodriguez then stepped to the plate, took the first pitch for a strike, swung and missed the second, then roped a two-run double to left center to tie the game at five.
“Mandy’s double was a huge hit for her,” Mearhoff said. “She’s been in sort of a mini-slump, but we hope tonight’s hit broke her out of that, because she’s hit the ball well all year.”
Senior left fielder Dani Bigham hit a fly ball to right after that, but the ball popped out of the right fielder’s glove for a three-base error, allowing two runs to score. Two outs later, Lee doubled to the wall in center field to score Bigham, but was thrown out at third to end the Braves’ eight-run inning.
Olentangy added two more in the fourth as Wilson doubled again to right center and scored on an RBI single to center by Brehm, who ended up on third after a throwing error. Beidelman then singled Brehm home for the final Olentangy run.
Nine of the 12 Olentangy hits on the day came from the top four hitters. Wilson had three of them, two doubles and a single, scored twice and drove in a run, while Lee had a triple, double, two runs and another RBI.
Brehm and Beidelman each had two singles and two RBIs, while Rodriguez added her two-run double and scored once. Wojta and sophomore first baseman Brooke Ring also had a single apiece.
Marysville sophomore starter Cori Long lasted just two innings plus six batters, giving up four earned runs on eight hits with a walk for the loss. Junior outfielder Taylor Hicks had three singles and senior outfielder Laciee Broderick a double and single to lead the Monarch offense.