A freshman pitcher making her first start, strong wind and hot Jonathan Alder bats didn’t make things easy on the Buckeye Valley softball team.
Jonathan Alder scored 11 runs in the first inning, rapped out 18 hits, including eight for extra bases, and the wind made just catching a fly ball an adventure as the visiting Pioneers routed the Barons 20-2 in five innings in Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division play Thursday at Buckeye Valley High School.
Buckeye Valley (3-3, 0-3 MOAC Red) rested senior starter Kasey Morris, deciding instead to go with freshman right-hander Allison Fathbruckner, and it was certainly a trial by fire.
The first eight Jonathan Alder (5-1, 3-0) batters reached base, two on Buckeye Valley errors, and the Pioneers were up 7-0 after the first trip through the batting order.
Fathbruckner got her first two outs on grounders to Morris at second, and retired the side on another ground ball later in the frame, but was hit hard again in the second inning and gave up three runs more. Fathbruckner finished taking the loss, allowing 14 runs, 10 earned, 11 hits and three walks in an inning and two-thirds, but improved her command as she went and threw more strikes than balls — 43 strikes on 81 pitches.
“Kasey is sore after pitching five straight games for us, so we went with Allison,” Davis said. “This was her first time out, and it’s rough going against a good team like that but she battled. She didn’t quit, and that’s something we try to teach the girls right now. She kept working for what she could get.”
Sophomore JoAnn Leienberger finished for Buckeye Valley, allowing six runs, only one earned, on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings just two weeks after coming off the injured list.
The Pioneers added three more runs in the third and took a 17-0 lead after two and a half, and junior Amy Stought broke up Pioneer pitcher Mady Watson’s attempted no-hitter with a leadoff single to right center in the bottom of the third. Sophomore Arianna Phrakornkham sacrificed Stought to second, but the inning ended quickly after a strikeout and a diving catch of a shallow pop up by Jonathan Alder’s Tori Walker.
The Pioneers got a leadoff single to start the fourth but nothing else, as Leienberger retired the next three batters on two fly outs and a strikeout, and Buckeye Valley got two runs back in the bottom half.
Sophomore Alex Garber led off with a grounder toward second, but Walker overran the ball and it rolled past her into right center field for an error. One out later, sophomore Lydia Albaugh took a first-pitch ball, then drilled the next offering from Pioneer reliever Andi Blankenship deep over the left field wall for a two-run home run.