DELAWARE – River Valley can hit.
That’s what coach Phil Shepler said before Wednesday’s game and that’s what the Vikings did.
RV put a 10-spot on the board in the first inning and withstood a Buckeye Valley comeback bid before scoring 11 runs in the fourth and fifth to win 21-7 in five innings in MOAC action.
“We hit the ball,” Shepler said. “They put three good pitchers up and we hit them all. I was happy with our hitting, obviously.”
Shelby Westler had three hits, including a homer and a triple to lead the Vikings. She drove in six runs and scored four times in five plate appearances.
“She had a home run and a bases-clearing triple,” Shepler said. “She’s a freshman … she’s a beast.”
Alexis Stevens and Taylor Hecker also had big games with three hits and three RBI apiece and Sarah Lachter drove in four runs for RV, which used a nine-run first inning to run away with yesterday’s game in Caledonia.
“Yes, they can hit,” Buckeye Valley coach Mindy Eisnaugle confirmed. “And yesterday they did the same thing. We hit much better today. They hit gaps … they just kept hitting gaps and running those bases.”
Eisnaugle and the Barons have been playing with a short deck this week with six players either injured or on spring break, including three starters.
BV is without Olivia Schick, Lexi Richardson and Cora Hollingsworth. Richardson suffered a torn ACL in the early fall. Eisnaugle hopes to have her back by the second week of April.
“We already pulled up a couple of the JV girls and I know they’re hurting a little bit,” Eisnaugle said. “But they’re really helping us out. We’re sitting on two subs in the dugout. We’re kinda just moving people around to piece it together.”
Lane Graham played third base for the first time. It didn’t look like it when she snagged a sharp grounder to get the final out in the first.
“They’re picking up the slack and doing what they can,” Eisnaugle said. “I’m proud of those kinds of things.”
Despite the big opening frame, the Barons (1-3, 0-2) fought back to make it a game again – cutting it to 10-6 before RV’s bats got hot again.
Lily Irvine had three hits, including a double, drove in three runs and scored twice and Ashlea Kehl added a pair of hits, an RBI and scored two runs. She also doubled.
Irvine, a freshman, took it on the chin in the circle in the first inning, but came back to toss scoreless frames in the second and third before running out of gas in the fourth.
“We’ve got a lot of talent and a lot of kids that can play a lot of places,” Eisnaugle said. “And that’s showing – having to pick up for kids that are gone. The comradery – putting it all together – will come once we can get everybody out there at one time.”
Riley Alcorn got the win for the Vikings (3-0, 2-0) and Maize Frank allowed an earned run over 2.2 innings in relief.
Next up, BV travels to Olentangy Orange in non-league play Monday night at 5:15 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.