Hot-hitting Panthers handle Pioneers in tourney opener


By Michael Rich

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Breanna Oldaker drove in four runs, including two in a five-run first inning to send Hilliard Darby past Olentangy Orange 13-3 in five innings in the first round of the Division I district softball tournament Monday in Hilliard.

“(Darby’s) coach had their girls really well prepared for our pitching and they really hit the tar out of the ball,” Pioneers coach Bruce Leary said.

Oldaker hit a two-run double in the first inning that tied it and a two-run single in the fourth inning that helped blow it open for the 23rd-seeded Panthers (9-15).

Jessica Clark hit a RBI single to give Darby the lead before Madison Lightfoot drove in two more on a double to push it to 5-2 through one.

“They took us out of the game early and they just kept pounding it all game,” Leary said.

Nina Sensibaugh and Alayna Kaschak each singled around a Maicy Kirk walk to load the bases with one out in the first. Two runs scored on a two-out error to give the 25th-seeded Pioneers the early lead.

Cami Clarkson worked a leadoff walk in the second and came around to score on three wild pitches to cut the deficit to two runs.

From there, Darby starter Madison Clark settled in to retire 11 of the final 13 batters she faced, giving up just one hit — a single by Alyssa Laisure in the third.

Clark allowed three runs (one earned) on three hits and four walks in a complete five innings to pick up the win for the Panthers.

Brenna Oliver took the loss for Orange. She allowed six runs on seven hits and a walk over 1.1 innings.

Alex Nagy tossed the final 2.2 innings for the Pioneers (10-15) and allowed seven runs (one earned) on eight hits while walking four and striking out one.

“We tried both of our pitchers and they threw some effective pitches, but in the end it didn’t matter,” Leary said. “Their team came to play.”

Orange graduates four seniors, including Kaschak, Kirk, Sensibaugh and Natalie Woogerd.

“Success is measured in so many different ways — the win-loss column is certainly one way we measure it in sports,” Leary said. “But the important thing is the relationships that we’ve developed and the friendships that we had and the fun that we had … and we had a lot of fun together. So, in that regard, it was a very successful season.”

Tegan Cortelletti had four hits and scored three runs, Cox and Madison Lightfoot each had two hits and two RBI and Cerynn Siemer scored three runs for Darby.

Darby travels to 18th-seeded Olentangy Wednesday in the second round of the district tournament. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.

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