CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Herbert Hoover junior pitcher Allison Rager is not the quickest worker in the prep softball pitching circle, but the Huskies ace made quick work of visiting Capital on Wednesday night.
Rager, an All-State selection who has already committed to play college softball at Division I Morehead State, faced just 10 Capital hitters in Falling Rock on Wednesday, striking out six and giving up only a first-inning single en route to a 10-0 Hoover win in three innings.
“We carried over our good hitting from last night and are all just glad to be finally hitting the ball all through the lineup, from spots one through nine,” said Rager, who had an RBI double and drove in a run in the first inning when she reached on a fielder’s choice.
That hasn’t always been the case in the early part of the Huskies’ season, she added.
“We were struggling a few days ago,” Rager said. “But everybody’s hitting the ball now.”
Hoover (5-2) won in three innings for the second consecutive day. The Huskies beat Nicholas County 16-0 on Tuesday night, and after a 2-2 start have won three games in a row.
Huskies coach Missy Smith said it was a good opportunity for the team to work on its focus.
“We’re fortunate enough to be pretty good so far. If you don’t get up for every game somebody can bite you,” Smith said. “We’re trying not to let that happen anymore. We’ve talked about focus and the mental game over and over and we changed our pregame routine a little bit to try and keep them focused the whole time so that when we come out for the first pitch we’re ready to go.”
The results showed Wednesday. Rager got out of the first inning after giving up a two-out single to Taylor Greenlee by eliciting a groundout from Capital clean-up hitter Courtney Burkhart. When Hoover came to the plate, Rager’s mastery of the strike zone actually became more impressive by comparison to the control struggles of Capital starter Ashley Blair.
Blair issued four walks in the first inning, and a two-run single by Hoover freshman catcher Madison Bowles helped give the Huskies a 6-0 lead after one inning.
“We work really well as a team, so we kind of came out here and played the game we’re used to,” Bowles said. “We kind of carried over what we did last night and we got our win.”
The Huskies received hits from all but two starters against Capital, which is playing its first full week under coach Gina Davis. Davis took over the position after former coach David Holt unexpectedly stepped down in late March.
“We’ve had two practices — both in the gym — and then have had five games,” Davis said. “We have some talented girls but we need to work on chemistry and our confidence. We got a win at Princeton (Tuesday) but (Rager) was really hitting her spots today, and looking at that team it’s obvious they’ve played together for a long time.”
Rager was the only Hoover player that had multiple hits in the win, but contributions came from throughout the lineup. Junior Caroline Thornburg and freshmen Kelsey Naylor and Kristin Downey each had RBI, with Downey’s third-inning single ending the game by scoring senior leadoff hitter Mikayla Craze.
Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT.