By Michael Rich
The Delaware Hayes softball team added to its historic season Saturday, notching its 20th win and setting the school record for home runs in a 10-0 win over visiting Olentangy Liberty on a rainy afternoon in Delaware.
“It’s been wonderful,” senior Mackenzie Stonebraker said about the 20-win season. “The team has been great and I love all the girls. It’s been such a great feeling to be able to do it with all of my friends … it’s been so awesome.”
Amaia Daniel and Stonebraker each homered, giving the Pacers a record-breaking 27 for the season to back Madi Huck’s one-hitter.
Delaware (20-0) gained control in the second. Daniel crushed a two-out, three-run homer in the second inning to score Stonebraker and Chloe Barton, who had each singled earlier in the frame.
Stonebraker smacked one over the centerfield wall the following inning to push the lead to six runs. Huck, who led the inning off with a double, scored on the homer.
Huck led the Pacers with three hits, including the go-ahead RBI single in the first inning. She also doubled in the fourth and drove two more in on a single in the fourth inning.
Rachel Bourget rounded out the scoring with another two-run single in the fifth.
Meanwhile, Huck disposed of the Liberty offense with relative ease. She surrendered just the one hit and a hit batter over five scoreless innings. She struck out seven along the way.
“She’s very important to this team … if it’s not on the mound, it’s in the dugout having the girls talk and just being that overall leader,” Pacers coach Mark Thomas said.
Miranda Noday hit a two-out blooper to right in the third inning for Liberty.
Marissa McPhail took the loss for the Patriots. She gave up eight runs on 10 hits and a walk over 3.2 innings and struck out two.
The Pacers lost to Liberty in the district final in each of the last two seasons. Thomas said that didn’t add any incentive coming into Saturday.
“If (Kristen) Adkins was back … I think it was just a good win,” Thomas said. “It wasn’t circled on our calendar … it wasn’t payback time. It’s a good win against a county school.”
“Even though it’s not the same team that we’ve lost to in the past, it still felt great to get past them,” Stonebraker said.
Delaware, which locked up another OCC title Friday, is the top-seed in the upcoming district tournament.
“Our eyes are set on a district title,” Thomas said. “We’ve got the first layer of the cake done and now we’re going to hopefully add on (another) layer.”
It took Liberty’s offense a little too long to get going in an 8-2 loss against Westerville North.
The Patriots rallied with two outs in the seventh. Rylee Kashmiry walked and Noday and Kennedy Kashmiry singled — all with two outs — to load the bases before Kaylin Lee drove home the only two runs of the afternoon on a single to center field.
“I thought we made a few adjustments along the way,” Liberty coach Bob Lee said. “I thought we faced two of the better pitchers around and that’s gotta be a plus for us — seeing that right before the tournament and knowing what it takes.”
Lee led the Liberty (6-12) offense with two hits and Rylee Kashmiry reached base twice, both on walks.
“We’re hoping we can sneak up on some people with our record not being as good as we hoped — we were hoping to be around .500 this year,” Bob Lee said.
North rallied for five runs in the fourth inning to break it open. Victoria Brumfeld hit a two-run double to start the scoring and Megan Crager had a RBI single in the inning.
Victoria Brumfeld and Michelle Brumfeld each had two hits to lead North (16-5).
Samantha Kilbane went the distance in the circle. She allowed two runs on five hits and five walks to go with five strikeouts to pick up the win.
While the progress may not have shown on the field Saturday, Bob Lee has been pleased with his team’s improvement throughout the season, especially with such a young battery, which includes a sophomore and a freshman in the circle and three freshmen catchers.
“In all credit to this team we’re really pleased with our progress because we’ve been playing a lot better at the end of the season than we were at the beginning – that was one of our goals,” Liberty coach Bob Lee said.
Katelyn Wilhelm took the loss for the Patriots. She allowed seven runs (four earned) on five hits and three walks with a pair of strikeouts over 3.1 innings.
McPhail allowed an unearned run on one hit and a walk and struck out one over the final 3.2 innings in relief.
Hayes’ second game of the day, against North, was cancelled because of rain.
Both Liberty and Hayes resume league play at home today at 5:15. The Patriots play host to Dublin Coffman and the Pacers welcome Franklin Heights.
Also: Delaware Christian 5, Whetstone 3; Grandview 10, Delaware Christian 1; Olentangy 7, Watterson 6; Central Crossing 3, Olentangy 2; Jonathan Alder 14, Orange 0; Orange 5, Canal Winchester 2.
Liberty 3, Pickerington Central 2; Olentangy 4, Westerville North 3; Olentangy 6, Westerville North 2.
Big Walnut 6th (37 points) at Gary Smith Invitational.
Big Walnut 6th (54 points) at Gary Smith Invitational.
Liberty 13, Cincinnati Moeller 12.
Liberty 14, Westerville North 4.
Olentangy def. Thomas Worthington 25-14, 25-12, 25-16.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.