It was quite a night for South Charleston in general and sophomore pitcher Amanda McDonald in particular.
McDonald fired a seven-hit shutout and struck out nine with two walks Friday evening as SC picked up a 10-0 victory at St. Albans.
She also led a 15-hit attack for the Black Eagles, going 4 for 5 with two doubles and driving in three runs. Her two-run double in the third bumped SC’s lead to 6-0.
“I’ve been working for both,’’ said McDonald, who has thrown as fast as 62 mph this season. “The hitting was just there tonight and so was the pitching. Being a little sick and under the weather was rough, but it was all there tonight, and the support from the team helped me a lot, too.’’
Though nothing fell from the overcast skies, McDonald was running through the raindrops all night for SC (6-8). The Red Dragons (6-9) stranded 10 runners in all and McDonald, battling the effects of a cold, didn’t have a 1-2-3 inning until the sixth.
Defensively, the Black Eagles made nearly every routine and above-average play, committing just one error, which allowed McDonald to strand the bases loaded in both the third and fifth innings.
“My defense has been working so hard,’’ McDonald said, “and I’m so proud of them tonight. They really stepped up.’’
Annette Olenchick, in her first year as SC’s coach, thought it was her team’s top effort of the season.
“They’ve come a long way, and we’ve still got a ways to go,’’ Olenchick said, “but we played the best we’ve played this year. They put just about the perfect game together. We hit the ball unbelievable tonight, had the defense and we ran the bases well. It was one of those nights.’’
Also for SC, Emily Bostick (3 for 4) had an RBI, Olivia Orcutt-Lazo and Jazmine Martin each went 2 for 5 with two doubles and drove in a run and Kelly Knuckles had two RBIs.
Because SA left so many on base (10 through the first five innings), Olenchick never felt comfortable.
“We’ve been in tight games and we have [beaten ourselves] this season,’’ she said. “You want to think 7-0 [is enough] but we were up 5-0 against Huntington and blew it, so you’re still thinking we need more runs.
“Seeing us tonight, we were all there fundamentally. It hasn’t been like that all year, but we’ve worked very hard to get to that point.’’
For the Red Dragons, Haili McCown was 2 for 4. Madi Marshall took the loss, fanning three and walking none. Marshall fielded her position well, getting four assists.
Bradley Brown, SA’s first-year coach, acknowledged the frustration of stranding so many baserunners, five of which were left in scoring position.
“We get runners on base,’’ he said, “and we leave them stranded. It’s been a problem all year long. We struggled to get our bunts down ... we’re just not playing fundamentally sound softball. We’re struggling.
“But I’m hoping we’ll see the tide turn starting [today] against Nitro. Hopefully we can make things happen and turn our season around.’’
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or email@example.com.