BEAVERCREEK — On the one hand, Monday’s home loss to Springfield provides Beavercreek coach Paul Martin and his staff a good teaching tool on what his team needs to do to win high school softball games.
On the other hand, class will be back in session Tuesday against the same solid Wildcats team. Springfield charged out to a 6-0 lead, then held on for a 7-5 win, April 8 at Beavercreek’s Rotary Park.
“I’d rather play a game like that than for us to win a run-ruled game by 20 runs,” Martin said. “That type of game will make us better in the long run.”
Springfield scored first on Kirsten McCleary’s sacrifice fly which scored lead-off batter Kenzie Burkhardt in the top half of the first inning. The Wildcats added three more runs in the second, with Burkhardt, Lydia Vlcek and Annmeri Turner each scoring on a two-RBI double by Taryn Freer and a single by Burkhardt.
Vlcek then unloaded a line drive home run over the center field fence to score two more Springfield runs in the third. With pinpoint accuracy, she hit the only car parked beyond the fence. Freer, who is currently listed in the top-5 among Greater Western Ohio Conference batters in average (fifth, .667) and home runs (second with three) scored Burkhardt with the ‘Cats final run in the top of the fourth inning.
“One of our mottoes that we use on this team is ‘Hitting cures a lot of things,’ ” Springfield coach Brett Sadler said. “If you build a comfortable lead — we don’t expect any team in this league to stop fighting — but if we have that lead, we feel like we’re OK.”
Burkhardt and Freer, the 1-2 batters in the Wildcats lineup, combined for five hits, three runs and three runs batted in. Jackie Grayson was the only other Springfield batter with two hits in the road win.
For Beavercreek, Alyssa Lewis and Shelby Metzger both had two hits in Monday’s loss. Maddie Neibert doubled, drove in a run and scored another; and clean-up hitter Mariah Crawford knocked in two runs on an RBI double. Senior catcher Hannah Walters drew three walks on three at-bats.
Wildcats junior pitcher Bailey Romine held Beavercreek hitless over the final two innings of play.
“She had a little bit extra in the gas tank today,” Sadler said of Romine. “She was pitching great. She was zooming it for us tonight.”
Sadler wanted to recognize Vlcek’s third-inning homer. Vlcek bashed a grand slam in a recent weekend win over Stebbins, too.
“She’s really spent a lot of time and effort working on her swing. We’ve enjoyed the process, and she’s enjoying it now, too. She told me ‘I don’t know what’s going on, coach,’ and I told her ‘That’s okay. You just keep hitting them!’ She’s been working on some mechanical things, and it’s really paying off for her on the field.”
The two GWOC East foes will get back at it at 5 p.m. Tuesday with a game at Springfield High School.