Big Walnut softball coach Jeff Hatfield wasn’t sure any of his players remembered the rivalry with Olentangy.
Alexyss Bullock hit a solo home run in the sixth inning which ended up being the game-winner in the Golden Eagles’ 9-7 victory at Olentangy Friday in Lewis Center.
It meant something for both Hatfield and Bullock. BW was winless against Olentangy in its last four tries, dating back to April 25, 2014 when both were a part of the OCC-Capital.
“They are our original rival before all (the realignment) stuff happened,” Hatfield said. “They don’t remember, but I do. It’s a good win for us.”
“We’re not in the league anymore … so it’s not as competitive,” Bullock said. “I’ve been on varsity — a four year starter for four years — and this is the first time we’ve beat them. So, it’s just a great feeling to beat this team because they’re such a big rival for us.”
The right-handed batting Bullock sent a line shot over the wall in right-center to give Big Walnut an 8-5 lead with two outs in the sixth.
“It felt great,” Bullock said. “My coach just gave me this look and I was like I gotta get this. This is my opportunity — my chance to show what I have and what I can bring to the table. I just saw the right pitch and I just took it.”
Emma Schwinne added another insurance run with a RBI single later in the frame.
It was a good thing because Olentangy wouldn’t go away.
BW got out to a 4-0 lead in the first on back-to-back RBI singles by Bullock and Arielle Brown, a bases loaded walk by Meredith Thomas and a sacrifice fly by Schwinne.
“I’ve been in a little bit of slump lately, but my team was hyping me up,” Bullock said. “I saw it and just took my opportunity and was able to get it (over to right).”
The Eagles loaded the bases on a pair of walks sandwiched around a Hailey Krinn single in the second. They scored two runs on a passed ball and a RBI groundout by Molly Sharpe to take a 6-0 lead.
“Normally, our defense is our game,” Olentangy coach Alan Tharp said. “We made those mistakes early and got down 4-0 … and two (mistakes) in the second and they would have gotten away with nothing.”
Olentangy finally got it going on offense in the third with a RBI hit by Morgan Cox followed by a three-run double by Payton Cox to cut its deficit to 6-4.
“Before this game started, (Payton’s) hitting like .619 with like an 1.100 slugging percentage,” Tharp said. “She has been coming up with the big hits.”
Olentangy was down four runs again when it rallied in the seventh, loading the bases with one out on three walks before scoring twice on an Emily Gernert sac fly and an error.
Stacey Walters got Morgan Cox to pop out to third with the bases loaded to finally end Olentangy’s comeback bid.
Sophie Low went the distance, taking the loss for Olentangy (5-2), allowing nine runs (five earned) on nine hits, nine walks and a strikeout.
It ended a stretch of four games where she didn’t allow an earned run over 27 innings, giving up just two runs overall, seven hits, six walks and 34 strikeouts … and, oh, a perfect game.
“We’ve talked the last two games … it’s coming … something’s going to happen,” Tharp said. “Somebody’s going to hit us — they’re going to get runs and we’re going to have to outscore them. That’s just the way the game goes. You can’t be on top of everything all the time.”
Stacey Walters got the win for the Eagles (3-2), tossing all seven innings. She allowed seven runs (six earned) on six hits and eight walks with four strikeouts.
Next up, both teams are in non-league action Monday at 5:15 p.m. BW travels to Mount Vernon and Olentangy visits Upper Arlington.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at [email protected]