When it comes to big innings, the Pacers have the Golden Eagles’ number.
Delaware Hayes struck for six runs on eight hits in the bottom of the fourth inning to open up an 8-0 lead en route to its fifth straight win in an Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division matchup with Big Walnut Wednesday at Hayes High School.
“Our girls swung the bats well … we came up with some big hits that found the holes in the fourth inning, that gave us an 8-run lead going into the fifth inning,” Hayes head coach Mark Thomas said after watching his Pacers go to 5-2 on the season and 4-0 in the OCC Capital, where they shared the league lead with Olentangy Orange going into yesterday’s action.
After Delaware grabbed a 2-0 lead on Chandler Fields’ 2-run single in the third, the Pacers sent 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the fourth. Jordan Osborne, Kaitlyn Woerner, Abey Frey and Alaina Manor delivered with run-scoring singles off Golden Eagle starting and losing pitcher Emily Petty to take the 8-0 lead.
Hannah Tucky, who opened the inning with a bad-hop single over the out-stretched glove of shortstop Shelby Borchers, collected two hits in the inning. Rebekah Hire contributed the lone extra-base hit in the frame with a double.
Hayes’ six-run outburst was no surprise to Big Walnut head coach Jeff Hatfield.
“In our last three games with Delaware, they have had a big inning which led to a win,” he said. “The balls they hit seemed to find all the holes.”
In the early going, it appeared Big Walnut (6-4, 1-3 OCC) was poised to have a big first inning. The Golden Eagles loaded the bases on a Krysten Chadwick single, a walk to Emily Petty and an error, but they were unable to score. Through the first four innings Big Walnut stranded seven base runners and a total of 11 runners for the game.
“I was more than a little concerned early on,” Thomas said. “Big Walnut has some good young players and with a hit here and there they could have been up early.”
Pacer sophomore starter Mikayla Cooper was more than equal to the task, finishing with a four-hitter for the complete-game victory. She walked five and struck out five over her seven innings of work.
“Unlike Delaware, we were unable to take advantage of our opportunities,” Hatfield said. “Cooper is a good young pitcher who kept her poise to win the game.”
Big Walnut scored its lone run in the fifth inning. Morgan Stephens opened the inning with a double and Katelynn Cheadle and Chadwick drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Allie Walker hit a grounder to third which forced Stephens at the plate before Cheadle came home on Leah Shaw’s bouncer to short.
Delaware collected 14 hits in the victory, led by Woerner, who collected three hits in four trips. Osborne, Cooper, Frey and Tucky each collected two hits.
Shaye Kuhlman, Chadwick, Stephens and Cheadle accounted for Big Walnut’s four hits.
Petty worked a total of four innings in taking the loss, giving up 8 runs, all earned, on 13 hits. She walked only one while fanning a pair. Walker came on in relief to work the final two innings. She allowed one hit while striking out three.