By John Bombatch
YELLOW SPRINGS — Two days after seeing Yellow Springs pitcher Hannah Morrison strikeout 17 of his batters in a home game loss, Middletown Christian coach Eric Spahr urged his team to “just put the ball in play,” in Thursday’s rematch at Gaunt Park in Yellow Springs.
Morrison still managed to whiff 15 Eagles, but Middletown Christian put the ball in play enough to earn a 7-2 win. With the win, Middletown Christian was able to hand Yellow Springs (6-9, 2-1 MBC) its first league loss of the season while earning the Eagles a tie atop the abbreviated three-team Metro Buckeye Conference standings.
“Even with the 15 strikeouts, Middletown Christian did a nice job of getting a lot of two-strike hits,” Yellow Springs coach Jim DeLong said. “That was the difference between Tuesday’s game and today: Even though she got those 15 strikeouts, they did get their hits.”
Middletown Christian (5-6, 2-1 MBC) scored twice in the first and third innings, and tacked on a run in the second, fourth and fifth innings as well.
Yellow Springs’ Gracie Price bashed a triple to start off the second inning, and then Danny Horton’s single was enough to bring Price home with the Bulldogs’ first run of the contest.
Lauryn DeWine scored the Bulldogs’ other run in the fifth inning off a single by Morrison.
Yellow Springs had the bases loaded in the sixth with one out, but again couldn’t bring anybody home. The Bulldogs out-hit MCS, 8-5, but stranded 13 runners on base.
Hannah Spahr got the complete-game win for Middletown Christian. She had far fewer strikeouts in the contest (5), but the Eagles defense backed her up superbly. The Eagles committed one error to four miscues for Yellow Springs.
“Yellow Springs has a really good pitcher,” Spahr said. “We just told the girls to make contact. (Morrison) provides all the power with her pitches; the girls just needed to put the bat on the ball. They responded and made great contact, and we really played solid defense today. And unlike Tuesday’s game, we were able to score base runners when we got them on base.”
The outcome puts the two teams in a tie within the Metro Buckeye Conference standings with 2-1 records. Both teams play the other MBC team fielding a softball team this season — winless Dayton Christian — today.
Middletown Christian plays Dayton Christian at 5 p.m., with the Bulldogs to follow at 7 on Dayton Christian’s home fields at the Action Sports Complex, in Dayton.
Should Yellow Springs and Middletown both win, they would finish the season tied as MBC champs with 3-1 marks in league games.