By Ben Stroup
The Delaware Hayes softball team matched the best start in program history Tuesday, blanking visiting Orange 6-0 to improve to a perfect 14-0 on the season.
The Pacers, as has been the case all spring, were clicking on all cylinders. It took them nearly four innings to dent the scoreboard, but they did it in emphatic fashion once they finally did.
Madi Huck started the bottom of the fourth with a double to center and Mackenzie and Mallory Stonebraker hit back-to-back homers an out later to make it 3-0.
Hayes added another run in the fifth before scoring twice in the sixth to smooth out the scoring summary.
Amaia Daniel finished with three hits from the leadoff spot, adding two RBI and a run scored to her stat line, while Huck and Mallory Stonebraker also had multi-hit games.
The Pacers got a balanced effort up and down the lineup as all nine starters recorded at least one hit in the win.
The defense was just as good. Huck picked up the win in the circle, allowing two hits while striking out 13 in seven innings of work. The defense, meanwhile, played an errorless game behind her.
It was a team effort. That, a true sense of team, is one of the reasons Hayes coach Mark Thomas says his squad has been so successful this season.
“These girls are a tight-knit team,” he said. “They love doing things together … no one is a senior, freshman, etc., just one team.”
Orange kept the game even until the fourth thanks to some solid defense of its own. Brenna Oliver was strong until running into trouble in the fourth, tossing three shutout innings to start the game. She allowed four runs on nine hits while striking out two and walking one in 4.1 innings.
Maicy Kirk and Alayna Kaschak had the Pioneers’ hits.
Delaware Christian 20, Wellington 3
The Eagles swung the bats really, really well Tuesday, finishing with 23 hits en route to a lopsided win over host Wellington
Rachel Sullivan, who finished 3-for-5, had a homer, five RBI and four runs scored for DCS. Haileigh Darnell was also automatic at the plate, closing 4-for-4 with five RBI and three runs scored.
Other Eagle standouts included Kara Haskins, who had three hits, three RBI and two runs scored; and Skylin Martin and Madie Morgan, who finished with three hits apiece.
Big Walnut 6, Hilliard Darby 3
The Golden Eagles saved their best for last Tuesday, scoring four runs in their last at-bat on the way to a solid non-league win over the visiting Panthers.
Katie Neff and Lexi Bullock led Big Walnut with two hits apiece. They also both finished with an RBI, as did Meredith Thomas, Kate Petty and Jessica Coletta.
Petty earned the win in the circle, allowing three runs (one earned) on eight hits while striking out three and walking one in seven innings.
Also: New Albany 7, Olentangy 4.
Big Walnut picked up its second league win in as many days Tuesday, parlaying a big third inning into an 11-5 win over host Hayes.
The Golden Eagles never trailed. They plated a pair of runs in the first inning and, after the Pacers answered with a single tally in the bottom half, scored again in the second and seven times in the third to break things open.
Hayes rallied with three in the fifth, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Nick Moser was solid at the top of the BW lineup, finishing with a hit to go with three RBI, three steals and a run scored. Parker Imertreijs, meanwhile, had a pair of hits — a double and a triple — to go with two knocked in.
Jacob Young earned the win in the circle, allowing four runs on six hits in six innings of work.
Mason W. Davis and Tyler Brown led the Pacers with two hits apiece while Domonic Byers had a team-best two RBI.
Also: Tree of Life 13, Delaware Christian 2.
Orange 5, Hayes 0; Big Walnut 5, Mount Vernon 0; Buckeye Valley 4, Jonathan Alder 1.
Olentangy def. Mount Vernon 26-24, 25-21, 20-25, 27-25; Pickerington North def. Hayes 25-11, 25-9, 25-8; Liberty def. Westerville Central 25-21, 25-18, 25-15.
Dublin Jerome 13, Olentangy 8; Pickerington Central 13, Orange 12.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.