By Ben Stroup
The Delaware Hayes softball team won its Division I district tourney opener the way the top seeded squad in the state is expected to: convincingly.
Senior standout Madi Huck threw a no-hitter, striking out 13 of the 15 batters she faced, and the offense hammered a trio of homers on the way to a lopsided 11-0 five-inning win over visiting and 36th-seeded Logan Wednesday in Delaware.
Yup, the Pacers (23-0) were all business.
“Everything worked tonight,” Hayes coach Mark Thomas said. “It was the first time in school history that three homers happened … we just have to keep it going.”
After Huck struck out the side in the top of the first, Hayes went to work in the bottom half. Amaia Daniel started what turned into a three-run inning with a walk. Audrey Hannahs moved her into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and Kaily Schuette sent her home with a line-drive single to left.
Mackenzie Stonebraker had the other big hit of the inning — a two-out, two-run single that chased Schuette and Rachel Bourget home.
While Huck kept the Lady Chiefs in check from the circle, the offense kept piling up the runs. Hayes scored five in the third to break things open before sealing the deal in emphatic fashion.
The Pacers punctuated the all-around stellar showing by flexing their muscles in the fourth. Huck started the inning with a solo homer to right before Caylin Morstadt and Mackenzie Stonebraker followed suit to make it back-to-back-to-back bombs and an 11-0 cushion.
Stonebraker finished with a team-best four RBI while Huck drove in a pair.
Six Pacers — Daniel, Schuette, Huck, Morstadt, Stonebraker and Lexi Mattix finished with two hits apiece.
The win sets up a rematch with 26th-seeded Liberty Monday at 5 p.m. (site TBA). The Pacers beat the Patriots, who earned their spot in the district semifinal with a 9-3 win over 19th-seeded Grove City Wednesday afternoon, 10-0 two weeks ago in Delaware.
Liberty, like Hayes, hit three home runs in its win over Grove City. Lilee LaRosa opened the scoring summary with a solo shot in the second, Miranda Noday highlighted a solid fourth inning with a three-run homer and Kylie Reed capped the big day with a solo homer in the fifth.
Katelyn Wilhelm earned the win in the circle.
Hilliard Darby 9, Olentangy 8, 9 inn.
The Braves erased an 8-3 deficit with five sixth-inning runs, but it wasn’t enough as the visiting Panthers plated a run in the top of the ninth to win Wednesday’s Division I district tournament game in Lewis Center.
Ashley Post and Sophie Low led Olentangy with a combined four RBI while Sydney Wagner had a team-best three hits in the setback.
Darby’s Bree Pizzupeo opened the ninth with a single to center and Madison Lightfoot singled her home two batters later to account for the difference.
Delaware Christian 11, Wellington 0, 5 inn.
The ninth-seeded Eagles scored in all but one of their trips to the plate, overwhelming visiting Wellington in Wednesday’s Division IV district tournament game at Big Walnut.
DCS, led by Emily Parrish’s three hits, three runs scored and two RBI, scored a run in the first, three in the second, five in the fourth and two more in the fifth to end things early.
Caitlyn Ruminski, Liz Sullivan and Haileigh Darnell also had nice afternoons, finishing with two hits apiece.
Madie Morgan did the rest, tossing a complete-game one-hitter, striking out six along the way.
Next up, DCS will hit the road to take on top-seeded Danville today at 5:30 p.m.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.