Atholton softball bounces back against Centennial

One day after losing a heartbreaker to Glenelg by one run in extra innings, Atholton returned to the field Thursday and got right back on track.

The Raiders’ offense strung together hits, Alex Herschman delivered another strong pitching performance and the defense behind her came through with a couple clutch plays en route to an 11-1 victory over visiting Centennial.

“It was great to be able to come back out and jump right back on the horse,” Atholton coach Bob Baxter said. “There’s no shame in losing to Glenelg, they’re a fantastic team and a great program and we hung with them at their place, but it’s nice to be able to get another game in before spring break. We don't have to have that 5-4 loss lingering in our heads.”

Atholton leadoff hitter Gina D’Asto, who delivered a couple hits and 4 RBI Thursday against Centennial, said no one was dwelling too much on that 5-4 loss to the Gladiators.

“We didn’t talk much about it, just learned from it,” she said. “We just came back out and made sure we were better than that (today).”

In addition to D’Asto, Atholton also got big days at the plate from sophomore Danielle Dolbow (3-3, double and 3 runs scored) and junior Becky Schwab (2-4, 3 runs scored and 2 RBI). Kaya Roberts also contributed an RBI double in the four-run sixth inning that sealed the game.

Centennial pitcher Emily Bowman got through the first inning without surrendering a run thanks to a couple strikeouts, but Atholton broke through in the second inning.

The Raiders’ Dolbow started things with a one-out double and then Schwab followed with a single. Three straight walks and an error later, the score was quickly 4-0 in favor of Atholton.

Then one inning later, after a couple strikeouts by Herschman kept Centennial off the board, the Raiders added some insurance. D’Asto had a two-run single that highlighted a three-run inning that made it 7-0.

“Emily Bowman’s ball was moving and she has velocity, so I think we struggled initially getting our timing down with her,” Baxter said. “But as the innings progressed we started hitting the ball better, making better contact. And that killer instinct, once we do get going, is something we really are trying to strive for.”

Centennial certainly didn’t go down without a fight. The Eagles mustered a couple hits in both the fourth and fifth innings, but Atholton’s defense came through to limit the damage to just one run.

“We were getting the bats on the ball, but the Atholton players made some very good plays,” Centennial coach Kathryn Grimm said.

A double play in the fourth inning on a fly ball to the outfield, along with Amanda Petersen making three straight putouts in the sixth inning from her shortstop position were among the defensive highlights on a day where the Raiders didn’t make any errors.

“Defensively we’ve worked a lot on repetition — going over and over and over again with those basic fundamentals,” Baxter said. “And you saw it really pay off today. You saw those defensive drills are really paying off.”

Herschman did her part with six strikeouts to earn her third win of the season.

Centennial was led offensively by a hit apiece from Anna Cowan, Katie Judd and Emily Bowman. Cowan scored the team’s lone run.

Atholton 11, Centennial 1

                        123 456           R-H-E

C (0-2, 1-2)     000 010           1-4-4

A (2-1, 3-1)     043 004           11-10-0

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