THE HIT PARADE
JEWELL – One by one, the South Hamilton players stepped into the batter’s box, tapped the plate and stared into the pitcher’s circle.
And one by one, those players put dents all over the softball.
The Hawks proved just how dangerous of a team they can be when locked in offensively during a Class 2A Region 3 first-round contest Tuesday night at the Mike Penning Athletic Complex, as they battered Clarion-Goldfield-Dows for 19 hits in a 14-0 pummeling that could have easily been more lopsided.
Eight of the team’s nine batters recorded multiple hits and three players – Ronnie Olson, Tiffany Jacobson and Alissa Moss – lashed three base knocks. Six of South Hamilton’s hits went for extra bases, highlighted by Olson’s lead-off home run to left field in the fifth inning. It was her third dinger and the team’s 16th of the season.
“I think that one of the things that makes our offense so tough is anyone in the lineup can contribute on any given night,” South Hamilton head coach Laura Read said after her club upped its team batting average to a more than respectable .318. “I thought at the beginning of the game at bat, we lacked a little bit of focus. But then the girls honed in and squared up to the ball.”
South Hamilton (15-16) scored 12 of its 14 runs over the final four innings. Cowgirls’ starting pitcher Sydney Terhark went four innings and reliever Chloe Johnson was promptly initiated by Olson’s rocket that was out of the park in the blink of an eye.
Olson, the Hawks’ designated player who didn’t become an everyday starter until the middle of the regular season, added a sixth-inning single and a two-RBI triple in the seventh. She hit two more balls out of the park that were just foul down the left-field line.
“I like her in the (No.) 5 spot a lot,” Read said of Olson. “She does a nice job of keeping her head down on the ball and just making solid contact, and she has a lot of power. She’s built tougher than she looks.”
Jacobson and Moss – the team’s No. 9 stick – slapped three singles each and drove in runs in the final frame.
“Alissa Moss has really been coming on the last few weeks and when she can get on and we can turn the lineup over, we know that good things are going to happen.”
Kayla Lucas, Ady Wintermote and Kali Lucas were all 2-for-4. Alyssa Hegland and Carly Swenson both went 2-for-5.
Kayla Lucas drove in two runs, one coming on a triple into right-center in the fourth. Her twin sister Kali also collected two RBI, both on a line-drive shot up the middle in the sixth.
Wintermote was just a few inches short of a home run in the fourth inning, but settled for a RBI double. Swenson doubled to deep center field earlier in the inning, and Hegland doubled down the left-field line in the sixth.
The Hawks squandered plenty of other scoring chances; four times they were thrown out at either third base or the plate and they also left 11 runners stranded.
Wintermote matched her team’s offensive efficiency with a dominant effort in the pitcher’s circle. The sophomore right-hander allowed just three benign singles and never allowed CGD (4-15) to push a base runner past second. She struck out two and was helped out by a mistake-free defense.
Hawks’ senior second baseman Allyson Ervin was particularly impressive in the field and piled up a team-high eight defensive assists.
“(Wintermote) always goes out there with confidence,” Read said. “She knows she’s not going to strike out every batter, but she trusts her defense to make the plays behind her.
“(Ervin) is kind of Steady Eddie out there. She’s done a really nice job and she can cover quite a bit of ground.”
Lexi Gatewood, Hannah Terhark and Emma Konvalinka registered the Cowgirls’ hits.