XENIA — It’s been a long time since the Xenia softball team has gotten a win in the competitive Greater Western Ohio Conference. Almost four years have past since their last GWOC victory, when they defeated Springboro, 10-9, at home.
Well trying to turn things around has been a trend for Xenia this year, and the Lady Bucs made strides when they beat West Carrollton (6-11, 2-5 GWOC) Wednesday at home, 6-2.
The gap between GWOC wins wasn’t as far as first year Xenia coach Ruth Caudill thought, but she was still happy for her girls to finally get the monkey of their back.
“They battle, they fight hard every game. We’ve been run-ruled numerous games by our big contenders, but we’ve kept them to minimum run-rules. Last year they were giving up 20 to 30 runs a game,” she said.
After giving up a run in the opening inning, Xenia (5-13, 1-7 GWOC) bounced back on offense and defense. They scored in each of their next three innings, including a big second inning, and held the Lady Pirates off the board until the sixth.
Xenia had two quick outs in the second, but rallied to finish the inning with three hits and three runs scored. Cora Stevens got on base with a single followed by another single from senior Brooke Shinkle. Then leadoff hitter Ayla Shaw batted in Stevens. Ashley Ashbaugh ended the inning with a line drive towards the shortstop, which scored Shinkle and Shaw.
The Lady Bucs had a couple hot bats in the lineup, helping the team finish with 10 hits overall. Kaitlyn Wormsley finished the game 3-4 with three singles and two runs scored. She scored in the first and third innings, both off of doubles from freshman Abigail Shinkle, who was 2-4. She would have had three doubles, but a West Carrollton outfielder made a nice catch at the fence to catch her out.
The rest of the work was done on defense. Morgan McClain pitched a complete game for Xenia, allowing seven hits in the game, with just three in the final five innings. She had only one strike, but when the Pirate batters did make contact, it was mostly short fly balls. And solid fielding kept West Carrollton off the board.
Caudill said that Xenia’s defense had been praised all year.
“We are working heavily on our batting. We have one of the strongest defenses, even though the scores don’t show that. We’ve had numerous compliments…that they’ve not seen a Xenia team like this in quite some time. It’s been a real pleasure playing these teams. Even though we lost, they have given us great compliments on the girls’ defensive abilities and once we get our bats going they think we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
Xenia hosts Fairmont at 5 p.m. today at Xenia High School. They fill face Fairborn at 5 p.m Monday at the Athletes in Action field in a Strikeout Cancer game.