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Carroll County Times
Carroll County High School Sports

Manchester Valley softball keeps hitting and piling on the runs in 15-1 win over Francis Scott Key

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.

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“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.

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“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.”

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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.

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“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.


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