CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- South Charleston softball coach Annette Olenchick told her team to “start early” before they took the field against visiting St. Albans.
As it turned out, the Black Eagles didn’t start early, but they did start first, and then held on at the end for a 3-2 win over the Red Dragons on Tuesday evening.
After being held hitless by SA pitcher Madi Marshall through three innings, the Black Eagles collected three hits and plated two runs to open the scoring in the fourth inning.
SC’s Olivia Orcutt-Lazo and Bailey Bennett sandwiched singles around a Kelly Knuckles walk to load the bases with one out.
Emily Bostic followed Bennett and delivered the game’s biggest hit with a two-run double down the right field line.
“We just kept telling the girls to go with the pitch,” Olenchick said. “Madi (Marshall) does a real good job hitting the corners and earlier we were hitting off the handle or off the end of the bat.
“Emily Bostic did a great job getting that one on the outside and turning it into a double and scoring two runs there.”
SC extended the lead to 3-0 in the fifth inning when a bases loaded walk to Bailey plated Jazmine Martin.
Black Eagles starting pitcher Amanda McDonald scattered four hits over the first five innings before finally running into trouble in the sixth.
Madi Chandler led off the inning with a single for SA and scored one batter later when Marshall belted a double to left center. Marshall moved to third on a Haili McCown groundout and scored on a Kate Holstein fielder’s choice to make it 3-2.
“We manufactured some runs late and our girls did what we asked them to do, it just didn’t work out our way,” said SA coach Bradley Brown. “We asked them to get on base, we asked them to bunt and put the ball in play and they did that.
“They just put a good inning together. Our pitcher was hitting her spots all day and she pitched an excellent ballgame, we just had one bad inning and that’s part of softball.”
McDonald found more trouble in the seventh when the Red Dragons used a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases with just one out.
But after a mound visit by pitching coach Amanda Lewis, McDonald settled down to retire the next two batters to end the game.
“I knew my team could field the ball well and that confidence helped a lot,” said McDonald, a first-year, starting sophomore. “She (Lewis) told us to bear down and that we had it.”
She told us to keep playing with confidence and to be confident with our fielding and throws.
“That helped us get through it.”