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It took long enough to get the Olentangy-Liberty softball game in, but it didn’t take long to get it over with.
A pair of rainouts last week pushed the game to Tuesday, and after an interesting first inning, the Patriots opened the game up on offense and shut it down on defense, finishing with a 13-1 Ohio Capital Conference Cardinal Division victory over the Braves at Liberty High School.
Liberty (12-5, 10-2 OCC Cardinal) put together a complete package of offense, pitching and, after the first inning, defense to squirrel away the win. The Patriots had 10 hits to just one for Olentangy (6-14, 3-9), and Liberty freshman pitcher Kristen Adkins ended the game allowing just one run, one hit and two walks with four strikeouts for the win.
“Kristen is a work horse,” Liberty coach Bob Lee said. “She’ll keep you in most games. We got off to a shaky start, and we’ve done that before, but she can overpower some hitters and finesse others when she has to. She’s pretty smart.”
Both Liberty and Olentangy loaded the bases in the first inning but failed to score. The Braves got some help with three Patriot errors in the inning, but a pair of Adkins strikeouts ended the Olentangy first.
“Our girls did a great job coming out, getting on base and taking advantage of their mistakes,” Olentangy coach Marty Mearhoff said. “We had bases loaded and one out, and we just didn’t execute to get a run or two in. We told them if we jumped on them, it would set the tone, but we didn’t do that.”
In the bottom half of the inning, Liberty got consecutive singles to jack the sacks, but a pair of fielder’s choices retired two runners at home plate, and sophomore pitcher Hailey Wilson, in relief of senior Biz Brehm, who had been injured earlier and had control problems, struck out the next batter to keep the game scoreless.
“Both teams had chances in that first inning,” Lee said. “I was talking to the umpire and I told him I’d never seen a situation where two teams loaded the bases in the same inning like that and did not score.”
“Biz wanted to give it a shot, being her senior year and her final game against Liberty,” Mearhoff said. “She looked good warming up, but she had trouble finding the plate, and Hailey came in and did a great job, and our defense did a nice job getting us out of that.”
Olentangy went down in order in the second, but in the bottom half, Liberty’s bats continued to produce. Freshman catcher Bailey Ankrim drove in the first run with a suicide squeeze bunt that scored freshman designated player Katie Flanagan from third.
Sophomore Madison Kadlic then ripped a two-run double down the left field line, and senior second baseman Sarah Drosos hit a double down the right field line to score Kadlic.
Senior third baseman Aoife Duffy then capped the offense in the inning, drilling a two-run home run to right center field.
“Our hitting has been hot and cold, but we got some good line drive hits and got some bunts down,” Lee said. “I thought the bunt Bailey got down on the suicide squeeze was a big play, Madison had a big hit down the line, and Aoife had the home run.”
Liberty added three more runs in the third as Flanagan walked and scored on a wild pitch, Ankrim reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on an error, and senior outfielder Andrea Cardinali reached on the same error and scored on a Drosos RBI single.
Olentangy got its run in the fourth. Junior catcher Megan Beidelman walked, went to second on an infield single by senior outfielder Courtney Price, and after a ground out by senior outfielder Dani Bigham moved the runners up, freshman second baseman Hannah Himes grounded to short to allow Beidelman to score.
But in the bottom of the fifth, the Patriots ended things early. Ankrim reached on an error, Kadlic singled, and Cardinali reached on a force out that retired Ankrim at third. Drosos loaded the bases with a hard-hit single to second base, and after Duffy hit a sacrifice fly to right center that scored Kadlic, Adkins belted a three-run homer down the left field line to invoke the run rule.
“Their talent just took over and they beat us,” Mearhoff said. “We put the bat on the ball, but not with any authority and they fielded the ball well, especially after the first inning. If you don’t score runs, you’re not going to win.”
Drosos went 4-for-4 with a double and two RBIs while Kadlic was 3-for-4 with a double and another two RBIs. Adkins and Duffy each homered and drove in three runs, while Ankrim had a single and one RBI.
Wilson was hit with the loss in relief, allowing six earned runs, five hits and three walks with two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings. Sophomore Samantha Rinehart pitched the final 1 2/3 innings, giving up four unearned runs and three hits while striking out two.
Price had the lone hit for the Braves, with Himes driving in the only Olentangy run.
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