Columbus East softball coach Rusty Brummett likened his teams performance Monday to a football team that benefits from quality production from its offense, defense and special teams.
In the Olympians’ case, it was offense, defense and pitching. They pounded out 12 hits, committed only two errors and got a one-hitter from Brooke Valles in an 11-1, six-inning win against Columbus North.
“This was a big win,” East center fielder Kaitlin Wagner said. “We didn’t win last year, so we were coming back and hoping to get this win so we can get two wins (against North) for our four years.”
Wagner’s two-run homer to right-center off Madisyn Prince capped a four-run fourth inning for the Olympians (9-4) that broke open a close game. They added four more in the sixth to end the contest early.
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Meanwhile, Valles did not allow a baserunner after the second inning.
“She came back and kind of settled in and started hitting her spots real well,” East coach Rusty Brummett said. “She commanded up and down and in and out and changing speeds. This is probably one of the better ballgames she’s pitched in her career.”
The Bull Dogs (0-11) scored the game’s first run. With two out in the second, Haylee Medve reached on a two-base error. Lilly Hurt then delivered an RBI-single for North’s lone hit of the game.
After that, Valles retired the final 13 Bull Dog hitters. She struck out seven and walked none.
“The pressure that was put on because of the turnout and with it being a crosstown rival, I got a little shaky in the first and second inning,” Valles said. “But then my teammates calmed me down and helped me out and let me focus a little more.”
The Olympians tied the game in the second. Wagner reached on a two-base error, went to third on a sacrifice by Becca Carter and scored on a single by Valles.
East then took the lead with two in the third, despite not hitting the ball out of the infield. Carissa Bombardiere led off with an infield single, Mady Foster had a one-out infield single and Jordan Johnston walked. Wagner drew a walk, and Valles walked with two out and the bases loaded to force in another run.
Then in the fourth, the Olympians scored four times after Kendra Pastrick reached on an error with two out and nobody on.
“They give you three outs for a reason, and if somebody gives you that fourth one, you have to make them pay for that, and our girls did,” Brummett said. “Tonight, we were much more effective with runners on base and in scoring position.”
After Pastrick stole second, Foster came through with an RBI-single and stole second. Johnston then singled to score Foster and make it 5-1.
That set the stage for Wagner’s two-run blast.
“I was looking for my pitch, and (Prince) finally gave it to me,” Wagner said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. My teammates pushed me and picked me up. They helped me hit that home run.”
Foster led off the sixth with an infield single. Johnston then doubled her in, bringing Prince’s day to an end.
Prince had just returned last week from an ACL injury that caused her to miss the first two weeks of the season.
“Every time she goes out, she throws a little harder, and she gets a little bit more trusting in her leg,” North coach Ron McDonald said. “It’s a process.”
Hurt relieved Prince for the Bull Dogs and came up with a strikeout. But then Carter reached on a two-base error, took third on a passed ball and Valles walked.
East’s Kamryn Cantu lined an RBI-single to score Carter. After Cassie Claycamp reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases, Bombardiere reached on an error, with courtesy runner Catie Dickmeyer coming in with the game-clinching run.
“We didn’t give up,” Wagner said. “We just kept striving and doing our best, and we didn’t get our heads down. We just kept working hard and trying to get our hits.”
Foster finished 3 for 4 with two RBIs, and Johnston went 3 for 4 for the Olympians.
The Bull Dogs, meanwhile will try to avoid giving up the big innings as they look for their first win of the season.
“That’s something that we’re going to have to make sure that we eliminate before sectional,” McDonald said. “That’s our goal. I still think we’ll win a few games, but it’s going to be tough.”