Kelly Hamilton

Marriotts Ridge's Kelly Hamilton pitched three scoreless innings in relief to help the Mustangs defeat Hammond on Tuesday. (File photo by Renee Bishop / April 22, 2014)

Marriotts Ridge’s bats started hot and never cooled down Tuesday afternoon, building an early cushion and eventually blowing things open for a 15-4 road victory over Hammond.

The Mustangs scored at least one run in every inning, including seven in the sixth to create the double-digit margin. The team took advantage of 13 hits, some smart base-running and the ability to put the ball in play in clutch situations.

“I thought we did really well in staying focused and continuing to score throughout the game,” Marriotts Ridge’s Kelly Hamilton said. “A lot of times you get ahead and then you get too comfortable with it, which allows the other team to catch up. So we really wanted to make sure we stuck with it and never let them get back in it.”

While Hamilton contributed one of the RBI on the day for the Mustangs, it was her effort at pitcher that really changed the course of the game. After starter Anna Geier exited with a 5-4 lead thru three innings, Hamilton took the ball in relief and proceeded to toss three innings of scoreless ball.

On the year Marriotts Ridge coach Karyn Curley has had the luxury of mixing and matching between three pitchers — Geier, Hamilton and Katie Smith — to keep opposing teams off balance.

“Using multiple pitchers is definitely a strength and we’ve found that it works very well for us,” Curley said. “I’d say that a lot of our success has been because we have been able to use each of them in different situations.”

For Hamilton, who allowed two hits, two walks and struck out four in her three innings, it was all about location against Hammond.

“I knew that they were a hitting team that was going to swing the bat, so I made sure to keep the ball on the edges of the strike zone,” she said. “I didn't want to just pitch straight strikes because they are good hitters that were ready to turn on it. I was definitely trying to challenge them.”

But while pitching certainly set the stage, it was ultimately Marriotts Ridge’s bats that did most of the heavy lifting.

In the first inning Marriotts Ridge was kick-started by a double from Geier. She and Alex Cwalina each ended up scoring runs in the opening frame for a 2-0 lead.

Hammond answered with a run in the first as well, with Emily Speierman leading off with a single and coming around to score on a hit by Maya Phillips, but the Mustangs were right back at it with two more runs in the second. This time it was Grace McCoy and Molly Meininger crossing the plate to make it 4-1.

In that second inning, Marriotts Ridge capitalized on three walks, a couple stolen bases and a couple wild pitches.

“We have been working on our strategy, especially over spring break … working on moving runners and getting them in,” Curley said. “We have a strong line-up from top to bottom and that’s definitely a big advantage, especially when you consider we play almost everybody, every game.”

Hammond showed plenty of resiliency in the early going. Despite never leading, the Golden Bears got RBIs from Sam Mesol, Emily Speierman and Caroline Goyne to do a solid job of keeping pace with the Mustangs through the first three frames.

Ultimately, though, Marriotts Ridge’s consistency was just too much to overcome. After adding another run in the third, two in the fourth and another in the fifth, the team issued the knockout blow in the sixth.

In that inning, on the way to seven runs, the team sent 11 batters to the plate. Lauren Biro (RBI triple), Katie O’Boyle (RBI single), Geier and Jordan Stepke all had hits in the frame.

Tuesday’s win helped build on the momentum that Marriotts Ridge had established by winning the Franklin Tournament over the weekend with wins over Towson and Williamsport.

“We are definitely a different team that we were at the beginning of the year and we are definitely starting to click,” Curley said. “We have been focusing on our batting, and, as you saw today, it’s keeping us in a lot of games.”

Marriotts Ridge 15, Hammond 4

            123 456           R-H-E