STRASBURG — Warren County started off a little slow on Thursday night but once the bats came to life, everyone got in on the action
The Wildcats used a balanced hitting attack to beat Strasburg 12-1 in non-district softball action. The game was called after six innings due to the mercy rule.
“We came out a little flat,” Warren County coach Ted McDaniel said. “But fortunately, we have a good defense and we have good pitching, and it kept us in the game.”
Strasburg (1-7) took the early lead in the bottom of the first. Maddie Foltz led off with a double off Warren County pitcher Elizabeth Keener. Foltz stole third and scored on a single by Kaitlyn Capps.
The Wildcats (6-1) tied the game in the top of the second. Warren County’s Sabrina Perea reached on an error and A legend Baltimore-Lane drew a walk from Strasburg starting pitcher Capps. Baltimore-Lane stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly RBI by Hailey Stiltner.
The two teams played on March 29 with Warren County winning 8-0. Strasburg started Natalie Hott in the pitching circle in that game, and McDaniel said it took his team one time through the lineup to get used to Capps.
“Once we came out and got adjusted, we did hit the ball well,” McDaniel said. “We had a lot of good hits. All the way from the top to the bottom of our lineup.”
Warren County leadoff batter Morgan Coons started things off in the top of the third inning. Coons singled and went all the way to third on an error. Jayda Saulsbury followed with an RBI single for a 2-1 lead.
Saulsbury stole second, went to third on a groundout by Perea and scored on a single by Baltimore-Lane for a 3-1 advantage.
The Wildcats stretched the lead even more in the top of the fourth. Stiltner reached on an error and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Karleigh Crabill. Warren County’s Ramsey Young singled and stole second. A Strasburg error scored Stiltner and Young to stretch the lead to 5-1.
Saulsbury followed with a single and Keener’s two-run single gave Warren County a 7-1 edge.
“If it’s my pitch, I’m going to drive it and try to get these runs in,” Keener said of her mindset for the at-bat.
The Wildcats added two more runs in the fifth inning off Hott, who relieved Capps in the circle, with an RBI single by Coons and a sacrifice fly RBI by Young.
In the top of the sixth, the Wildcats added three more runs, led by RBIs by reserves Arianna Whited and Chase Roltsch.
The Wildcats had 12 hits, with 10 different players reaching base during the game.
“It was great knowing that everybody on the team can go out there and hit,” Keener said.
Keener said she didn’t feel like she was at her best in the pitching circle, but she felt better as the game went on. She struck out three and allowed only six hits.
“I got more confident with us ahead,” Keener said. “So I was like ‘OK, we got this.’ I started getting into my groove.”
Strasburg committed six errors and has struggled with defense all season.
“We’re just lacking confidence around the whole diamond right now,” Strasburg coach Suzanne Mathias-Carter said. “We got some that are staying here (after the game) for extra balls. They’re working, I can’t fuss about that. At some point, hopefully, the tables will turn and some luck will go our way, and we’ll field balls and be confident.”
Strasburg was led at the plate by Hott with two hits.
Mathias-Carter said she was pleased with the way the Rams hit the ball. In the first meeting between the two teams, Keener struck out 13. Mathias-Carter said she hopes the non-district games will help the Rams when they start Bull Run District play next week.
“I’ve told them these (non-district) games we’ll just keep trying to work the kinks out,” she said. “And move forward, be positive and work forward.”
Coons, Saulsbury, Keener and Young each had two hits for the Wildcats.
McDaniel said that the Wildcats still have the toughest part of their schedule ahead of them, but he’s pleased with what he’s seen from his club.
“I’m really happy with the way the team is playing,” McDaniel said. “We’re all in pretty good spirits and staying together and good team chemistry. And all that together is what it takes.”