There’s something to be said for never being content.
Manchester Valley softball’s April Bitzel had a hit in the first inning Wednesday against Francis Scott Key. The grounder to second produced a run, but Bitzel wasn’t satisfied.
“I had a hit, but it wasn’t very good contact,” Bitzel admitted.
She came up in the second inning with two runners on and got a hit she was happy with, a line-drive double that plated two.
“I definitely fixed something on that one,” she said with a laugh.
In the same fashion, after scoring three first-inning runs, Manchester Valley wasn’t satisfied. The Mavericks kept hitting and kept scoring all the way until the 15-1 five-inning conclusion.
“I think our pitch selection was definitely very good today. We just were able to hit,” Caitlin Boden said. “I know I was a little nervous coming in, but once we start hitting, we’re good to go.”
Boden finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs, Bitzel had two hits with five RBIs and Makenna Deane added three RBIs.
Lead-off hitter Kasey Thomas was credited with getting Manchester Valley started, as she reached base all five times she came to the plate.
“As soon as Kasey gets on I feel we just flow,” Bitzel said. “Cause when Kasey’s on, we have a chance to score. It’s easy to make it flow when everyone hits.”
After grabbing a 3-0 lead, Manchester Valley came back with four runs in the second. With the bases loaded, Deane sent a shot to left-center field that only a strong wind kept from being a grand slam, but did score two. Bitzel followed with her two-run double.
“After the first inning, we made our adjustments on the pitcher because she was throwing a lot of inside [pitches],” Bitzel said. “We were able to start pulling it than letting it jam us.”
Five more Maverick runs crossed the plate in the third inning and three more in the fourth as the lead swelled to 15-0. Meanwhile, Deane was shutting down a potent FSK lineup that entered Wednesday averaging 11.6 runs a game.
“Makenna is a phenomenal player,” Manchester Valley coach Michael Hernandez said. “She practices hard, she plays hard. She listens when we try to help her out with her pitches.”
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According to Deane, the formula was simple.
“Trusting my defense,” she said. “I know they’re a good hitting team so I just have to hit my spots to make them make weak contact, then trust my team — we had really solid defense today — to make plays behind me.”
No one made a better play than Boden.
In the bottom of the third, with the top of its order up, FSK tried to mount a one-out rally. Morgan Kenney singled, then moved to second on an error. Emma Tawney, a .542 hitter, followed with a line drive to center. Boden tracked it down, made the catch then doubled up Kenney at second base.
“I thank her for that one,” Deane said. “It was super important. I was pitching and I saw that hit go off and I was just like, ‘Shoot.’ Because hitting is contagious for them also. ... When Catlin caught that ball, it was an extra boost to our morale.”
Manchester Valley moves to 9-4, 7-2 in county. With the regular season winding down, Manchester Valley looks to carry what worked well Wednesday into its remaining regular-season games, then the playoffs.
“I think we can just take it all and move forward from this win in a positive way, keep hitting,” Boden said.