After a first inning in which all three South Charleston batters struck out, the SC coaches debated the strategy of slap hitting.
The coaching staff ultimately decided to continue swinging away, a decision that benefited the Black Eagles’ hitters.
South Charleston earned a 6-2 home victory over George Washington (5-8) in girls high school softball action Thursday.
“We have been slow getting started in the first inning,” SC coach Annette Olenchick said. “Our timing was a little bit off. They adjusted, listened to what we were telling them, and got their timing down. I am proud of them.”
SC pitcher Amanda McDonald, who got the win and contributed a pair of runs batted in for SC, indicated the adjustment was simple.
“We scooted up in the box,” McDonald said. “We got our timing down on deck. We usually try and talk to each other telling each other what we need to do to get our timing down.”
The Black Eagles (5-8) scored a run in the bottom of the second inning to take a 1-0 lead after Jazmine Martin got things going by reaching on an error with one out.
Madisyn Pauley followed by reaching on an error and SC first baseman Emily Bostic squeezed a ground ball past GW third baseman Caitlin McClure, scoring Martin for the first run of the game.
SC scored its second run in the third inning after Olivia Orcutt-Lazo reached on a single with one out, reached second on a wild pitch and scored on a two-out RBI single by Martin.
In the fourth inning with the game tied at 2-2, the Black Eagles took the lead when Emily Bostic hit a leadoff single, reached second base on an error, got to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on an RBI groundout by McDonald with one out.
SC cleanup hitter Kelly Knuckles crushed a home run over the straight-away center field fence in the fifth inning and the Black Eagles tacked on two more insurance runs to seize control.
In the sixth inning, Aaliyah Phillips led off with a single and McDonald drove her in with a RBI double with one out. SC scored its other run on a fielder’s choice by Bailey Bennett.
GW scored both of its runs on a two-run homer by catcher Bailey Rabel over the left field fence in the third inning, which scored pitcher Billie Murray, who had reached on an infield single.
After that, though, McDonald settled down, and didn’t allow a single hit over the last four innings. On the game, the sophomore struck out 12 Patriot batters, including all of them in the first, second, and seventh inning.
“Amanda did a real good job tonight after that,” Olenchick said. “She’s just a sophomore. She has thrown well at times and just needs to get more consistent. She is right on at times. Again, it goes back to experience. We just need her to relax and stay loose.”
McDonald was happy to get over the home run by Rabel quickly and settle down after that.
“She (Rabel) is a really good hitter,” McDonald said. “I probably shouldn’t have thrown it. It was just a matter of calming myself down and regaining everything. My team came and talked to me.”
GW coach Gwynne Johnson has been happy with the play of Rabel, especially considering the Patriots are without two of their better players, one to injury and another to illness.
“That was Bailey’s first home run,” Johnson said. “When she steps up to the plate, she is so reliable. You know you can count on her to get something done. We were really excited for her and she was too.”
“She is an intregal part of our team. Our leadoff and cleanup hitter were out. Ali Ferrell is out two weeks with a shoulder. That is a huge loss. Also Jessie Thevenin was out. Both are some of our really dependable players.”