Big day at the plate lifts Glenelg softball to 11-0 win over River Hill
Emily Michalski jump-started Glenelg's prolific offensive outing against River Hill Thursday.
With one out and Amy Stetser and Katie Dustin on second and third, respectively, Michalski turned on a pitch from Jenna Kenyon and rocketed a shot to deep left center, which cleared the fence to give the Gladiators the early three-run lead at the top of the first inning.
"That was the pick-me-up that they all needed, because we came out a little flat in warm ups," said Glenelg coach Ray Gerstner following the five-inning, 11-0, win over the hosting Hawks. "With the heat, it kind of zapped us two days in a row. We were a little tired and that was the pick-me-up the entire team needed. It carried the day."
Michalski's first career over the fence home run ignited an offensive onslaught as the Gladiators went on to collect eight hits with five extra base knocks in their third-consecutive win to stay perfect on the week.
"It's been one game at a time and that's been the girls' focus all week," Gerstner said. "And coming out of spring break is hard, but we all had to do it. We practiced on Monday and brushed their rust off. Now you can see, we're at the end of the week and yeah, we had to go through three in a row like all the other teams in the county, but it showed their hard work and dedication. None of them went down easy. They wanted to fight and battle."
Glenelg took advantage of runners on base early on in the inning. Kenyon got the start in the circle for River Hill and allowed just six hits, but walked five with three hit batters through 4 1/3 innings.
In the top of the first, Stetser got on base after a one-out walk, with Dustin following with a double to move her over to third and set the table for Michalski's 3-run homer.
However, Kenyon and the Hawks defense limited the damage from there, getting the final two outs in the inning and keeping Glenelg's lead to three.
"Both teams were crowding the plate… but obviously those inside pitches when you're trying to work it that's sometimes what happens. I know [Kenyon] is trying to work a little bit out there," said River Hill coach Marni Rosenbaum. "But putting people on, you're not going to win too many ball games when you're starting off with no outs and getting that lead-off run on when they didn't get a hit to get on. But other than that I thought Jenna pitched really well."
The Gladiators added on in the top of the third. Dustin got it started after a lead-off walk, with Katie McIntyre following with a triple to bring her home. Kenyon popped out Michalski in the following at-bat, while getting Maddie Wingert to ground out for the second out. However, Wingert picked up the RBI on the play, platting McIntyre to push the cushion to five.
But again, the Hawks limited the damage and got the third out without allowing another run.
"We still were leaving a couple left on base. It's been a little bit of an issue, but if that is our biggest issue that means we are getting them on base," Gerstner said. "It is a good issue to have, but anytime you're away you want to hit that scoreboard early."
The Gladiators loaded the bases with one out in the top of the fifth. Delanie Vintz stepped in relief to close out the game for the Hawks. She walked Kathryn Hoffman, which brought in another run, but struck-out the following batter to get the second out.
Dustin then stepped up to the plate and knocked a 2-run double to left field, platting Katie Grimm (in as a pitch runner for Erin Cauley) and Julia Chamberlin to extend Glenelg's cushion to nine.
"At the plate I knew they had really good pitching and that their pitchers could hit their spots," Dustin said. "Last year when I played them I got pitched a little inside, so this past week I practiced hitting inside pitches. I saw that a little bit this game, and when I saw the inside one I took it to the field."
Katie McIntyre brought in two more runs in the ensuing at-bat, hitting a shot down the right field line for the triple. But River Hill got out of the inning after Hannah Brown tagged McIntyre at the plate.
"I think we did a nice job making plays," Rosenbaum said. "To me the biggest thing is that we are making some plays out there. What I said to them afterwards is working on getting that ball in from the outfield. We got to be able to make those throws."
River Hill, meanwhile, struggled at the plate totaling three hits in the game with Kenyon, Delanie Vintz and Victoria Koutras all finishing with a base hit.
"I think we're too worried as far as the umpire's strike zone. I think we were just taking swings at pitches we shouldn't," Rosenbaum said. "Yesterday we were hitting the ball hard, against Wilde Lake, against Reservoir… they made some nice plays out there on the field as well, but can't do a lot when you hit it right at them."
The loss ends the Hawks' three-game winning streak, but they will look to bounce back against Long Reach in their next outing Tuesday.
"I told them today we have nothing to lose," Rosenbaum added. "We just need to play well. We need to field the ball, we need to have good pitching and we need to bat. I think we had a little bit of everything but you got to bring all three parts together in order to win the game."
Gabrielle Browne earned the shutout win for the Gladiators, while striking out three and walking two on the day.
After victories over Centennial, Howard and River Hill this week, Glenelg claimed sole possession atop county standings. However, for Gerstner and his group it is about getting ready for postseason play in a few weeks.
"Counties are counties. It doesn't do anything for us," he said. "It's what happens in May and in the playoffs. If we get counties, we get counties. I am not resting girls or anything like that. We're going to get them all of their work. We're still going hard with our best 9-10 girls and this year we're 15 pretty much deep. I got everyone healthy finally this week. It's been really nice to have that bench and that depth to look down and see who's next."
Ten runs in the third propelled the five-inning win for Long Reach. Saya Phillips led the way with a single, two doubles, a walk and 3 RBI. Stephanie followed offensively with a walk, three singles and 3 RBI, while Julia Gates had two singles, two walks and 2 RBI. Phillips also got the start for Long Reach. She walked four and struck out three in the win.
The Lightning are back in action Saturday against Centennial, while Oakland Mills will take on the Eagles Friday.