The Delaware Hayes softball team knew it could clinch a share of the OCC crown with a win and, well, wasted little time doing just that in the league finale Thursday against host Dublin Scioto.
The Pacers scored three times in the top of the first inning, added five more in the second, put up four in the third, scratched across another three in the fourth and smoothed out the scoring summary with four in the fifth to roll to a title-clinching 19-2, five-inning win over the Irish.
With the league wrapped up, and the tourney on the horizon, Hayes is playing at a different level than it was earlier in the season, when losses to Hilliard Bradley and Hilliard Darby put it two games out of first place.
“I think when we got back from Florida we lost focus a little bit when we lost to Bradley and Darby,” Hayes coach Mark Thomas said. “But, since that Darby game we have been really focused.
“I hate to lose, but that Darby loss was a good reality check. The team really has kicked it in gear since then. They are really close and want to win at all costs.”
Each of the first four hitters in Hayes’ lineup finished with three hits. Leadoff hitter Chloe Barton finished 3-for-5 with two RBI and three runs scored, Alex Armstrong was 3-for-5 with five RBI and three runs, Amaia Daniel was 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs and Bobbi Adams closed 3-for-3 with three knocked in.
Mallory Stonebraker and Lexi Mattix were also members of the multi-hit club, chipping in two apiece.
Haley Osborne, meanwhile, picked up the complete-game win in the circle. She allowed two runs on four hits while striking out five.
Westerville Central 6, Olentangy 5
The Braves clinched a league title with Wednesday’s win over the rival Patriots, but left the door open for a potential spit with Thursday’s loss in Westerville.
Olentangy scored five times in the sixth to flip a four-run deficit into a one-run lead, but Central plated two in the bottom half to account for the final margin.
Morgan Cox and Kristen Kracht each had homers for the Braves while Payton Cox suffered the loss in the circle.
Big Walnut 9, Groveport 8
The Golden Eagles did all their damage in one inning, scoring nine times in the sixth to post a solid OCC win over the visiting Cruisers Thursday in Sunbury.
Meredith Thomas finished with a team-best three hits while Hailey Krinn, Molly Sharpe, Arielle Brown and Alyssa Tarney had two apiece.
Thomas picked up the complete-game win in the circle, allowing eight runs on six hits while striking out three and walking four.
Also: Granville Christian 18, Delaware Christian 2; Westerville South 9, Olentangy Liberty 6.
Olentangy 6, Westerville South 3.