The Buckeye Valley Barons did everything well Friday, getting clutch hits, solid pitching and strong defense to post a 5-0 non-league victory over the Delaware Christian Eagles Friday at Buckeye Valley High School.
Both teams came in suffering a bit, although in different areas. Buckeye Valley (7-9) snapped a six-game losing skid with an overpowering win over Northland on Thursday.
“It’s been two good nights for us in a row,” Buckeye Valley coach Mike Davis said. “We’re back on a little winning streak right now and we’re looking in a positive direction for the second half of the season.”
Delaware Christian (7-6), meanwhile, was missing senior Kayla Zimmerman and junior Emily Cornelius from the lineup, but was still able to hold its own.
“We were down two players, our shortstop and second baseman, who are our number four and five hitters,” DCS coach Matt Heidorn said. “Our shortstop tonight (sophomore Brianna Kuykendall) is an outfielder who never played shortstop in her life, but she stepped in and made some nice plays.”
Both teams put one of their best in the pitching circle. Buckeye Valley sophomore Kasey Morris ended up the victor, allowing the Eagles just one hit with a walk while fanning 12 batters. Morris also helped herself in the fifth inning, blasting a home run to right center field.
“Kasey pitched very well,” Davis said. “She gave up one hit on a bunt tonight and she gave up one hit against Northland last night, so she’s thrown back-to-back one-hitters. She had a home run taken away from her last night, so the one she hit in the fifth inning was big for her.”
“Kasey is a great pitcher,” Heidorn said. “She and Ava work with (pitching instructor) Tony Eyerman, so there is a little competition there. Kasey’s a sophomore, Ava’s a freshman, and it was a good battle there, but Kasey is just a little more developed right now.”
Delaware Christian freshman Ava Heidorn, the coach’s daugher, took the loss, allowing five runs, four earned, in six innings, but showed good velocity on her pitches and stayed around the plate. Heidorn also allowed four walks, but struck out eight Barons.
“Ava battled all game,” coach Heidorn said. “She gave up single runs in three innings and two in another, but she pitched well.”
“Both pitchers go to the same pitching coach and work out at the same place, so they know each other’s styles,” Davis said. “It was a competitive matchup between Kasey and Ava tonight.”
Defensively, the teams were fairly even. Delaware Christian played errorless ball while the Barons committed just one error on a hard-hit ball to second by Eagle sophomore Liz Sullivan that nearly knocked Buckeye Valley freshman Allison Fathbrucker’s glove from her hand.
“We’ve been swinging the bats well lately, but the problem has been with our defense,” Davis said. “Tonight, we only committed the one error. I think we’re coming along, but our defense has to pick up and continue to get better.”
Offense was the key the game. Delaware Christian had just three baserunners all evening on a walk to Heidorn in the first, a bunt single by senior third baseman Katie Morgan in the fifth and the error off Sullivan’s bat. Buckeye Valley, meanwhile, had seven hits, four for extra bases.
The Barons opened the scoring in the second when senior catcher Michaela Linn doubled to center, stole third after a two-out walk to sophomore right fielder Arriana Phrakornkham, and scored on a passed ball with sophomore JoAnn Leienberger batting.
Sophomore center fielder Lydia Albaugh led off the third with a double to center, stole second, and scored on a groundout by Amy Stought. Buckeye Valley added a run in the fourth when freshman third baseman Logan Hatcher singled to shallow left, stole second and third, and scored on a two-out single through the right side of the infield by sophomore Olivia Busby.
Morgan had her bunt single in the top half of the fifth with one out, took second on a stolen base and went to third on a wild pitch, but consecutive strikeouts ended the threat.
Albaugh opened the bottom half with a triple to deep right and scored on a ground out by Stought. Heidorn then worked Morris to a 1-2 count, but Morris took her next pitch deep over the wall in right center for the final run.
Albaugh finished with a triple, double, two runs scored and a stolen base, Morris had her solo homer and the RBI, and Linn had a double for Buckeye Valley. Stought, Hatcher and Busby had a single each, Stought driving in a pair of runs and Busby adding one RBI.