Ansbro homers twice, strikes out 13 for Falcons
Ansbro tossed a complete game against William Monroe on Tuesday night, striking out 13 batters while delivering a pair of home runs and five RBIs at the plate to send the Falcons to a 6-1 Bull Run District/Conference 28 win, their second straight victory to open the season.
“She came ready,” Central coach Lisa Rhodes said. “Tryouts, day one, she was ready. She was biting at the bit January and February.”
Ansbro, a George Mason University softball commit known for her prowess in the pitching circle, helped her own cause against the Green Dragons (0-1) with a three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning and a solo shot in the fifth.
In the circle, the junior scattered two hits, two walks and a hit batter while allowing one earned run.
“I didn’t really know what William Monroe had this year,” said Ansbro, who also tallied 13 strikeouts in the Falcons’ win over Stonewall Jackson on Monday night. “I knew we had a ton of talent. I thought it would be a closer game, but we really pulled this one out and I thought overall we did very well. Our defense was tight and certainly our offense was.”
Central’s offense generated some pressure quickly against William Monroe starter McKenzie Flora on Tuesday evening, as sophomore Shennan Waldron led off the bottom of the first by drawing a six-pitch walk before sophomore Brooke Sager reached safely on a bunt single.
Flora, who lasted only two innings for the Dragons while allowing five hits and five runs (four earned) in the losing effort, struck out Kessa Hawkins for the inning’s first out and got ahead of Ansbro 0-2 before Ansbro sent a changeup over the fence in left-center to give Central a 3-0 lead.
“I didn’t hit too well [Monday] night against Stonewall Jackson so really I was just thinking base hit. I just got lucky and hit a deep fly ball,” Ansbro said. “But I don’t think I created momentum for the team, I think we got those first few batters on and that really gave me the integrity to get up there and swing.”
The Falcons added two more runs in the second inning to pad their lead.
Sophomore catcher Kylie Stottlemyer led off the inning with an eight-pitch at-bat that ended with a double to right-center, and Waldron reached safely on a fielder’s choice with one out to put runners on the corners. Sager (2-for-4) then plated a run with an RBI infield single.
A Dragons error loaded the bases for Ansbro with one out, and the junior gave Central a 5-0 lead with an RBI fielder’s choice on a grounder to third.
“I just like that I tell them we need to put pressure on the defense and they do that,” Rhodes said. “That’s what wins ballgames is when you keep the defense on their toes and you don’t get predictable.”
After stranding a runner at third in the top of the second inning, William Monroe put more pressure on Ansbro in the fourth and came away with a run. Freshman Alexis Wayland worked a one-out walk against Ansbro and moved to third on a pair of steals. Junior Makayla Morris then drove Wayland home on an RBI infield single – the Dragons’ first of the night – on a soft liner up the middle.
Ansbro stranded Morris at third to end the fourth inning and didn’t allow a baserunner past second base over the final three innings while striking out seven of the final 12 batters she faced.
“I really trust my catcher, Kylie [Stottlemyer],” Ansbro said. “We threw together last year. I trust her glove. I trust whatever she’s giving me for signs. And I just know wherever I throw she’s going to have the ball.”
Morris came in to relieve Flora to begin bottom of the third inning for William Monroe and the junior allowed only one hit and one walk while striking out four over four innings. Morris’ lone run allowed came on Ansbro’s homer to lead off the bottom of the fifth.
“Makayla pitched excellent,” Dragons first-year coach Greg Breeden said. “Inside-outside movement on her fastball and on her curveball and drop ball. She made one mistake with her changeup like [McKenzie] Flora did with her changeup and [Ansbro] was sitting on both of them.”
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org