CHARLESTON, W. Va.. — South Charleston sophomore Olivia Orcutt-Lazo blasted two home runs to lead an offensively potent lineup for the Black Eagles in a six-inning 10-2 win at Nitro on Wednesday night.
Orcutt-Lazo finished with three RBI, including two as part of a six-run sixth inning that propelled South Charleston (11-13) to victory at Nitro (7-13).
“She has been our offense,” SC coach Annette Olenchick said of Orcutt-Lazo. “She has been stepping up and just hitting the ball really well. Her goal was two (home runs) tonight, she said, and the first (at bat), she just missed it.
“She’s been one our hitters that has been consistent all year. Hopefully, I won’t jinx her.”
In Orcutt-Lazo’s first at-bat, she drove the ball deep to centerfield but the hit fell short of the fence for a long fly-out. In her next at-bat, Orcutt-Lazo drilled a solo home run to lead off the fourth inning and tie the game at 2-2. During the sixth, Orcutt-Lazo hit a two-run home run to plate SC’s ninth and 10th runs.
“I can see (the ball) pretty well now,” Orcutt-Lazo said. “I was struggling in the middle (of the year), but now I’ve got it down now. It feels very good to pick my team up by hitting. I love it.”
The Black Eagles took a 1-0 lead in their first at-bat but quickly fell behind when Nitro catcher Nichole Brown hit a two-run home run to right center field in the bottom half of the first inning.
Later, Orcutt-Lazo tied the game with her first home run of the night to start the fourth inning.
SC surged ahead in the fifth inning with back-to-back, two-out RBI singles by Kaylee Stanley and Amanda McDonald.
In the sixth, the Black Eagles manufactured six runs. As part of its rally, SC forced Nitro to remove starting pitcher Amber Hughes, who tossed a complete game against St. Albans in a previous game on Wednesday.
“It seems like once we get started, then it’s like it catches on,” Olenchick said. “It seems like once you start getting that one base hit then you get another base hit and another base hit. We have good hitters. It’s just they think too much sometimes instead of just reacting.”
The loss proved frustrating for Nitro as the Wildcats’ tendency to allow their opponents a single decisive inning has plagued the team throughout the year, coach Joyce Midkiff said.
“We always find one inning that beats us,” Midkiff said. “Our team finds a way to beat ourself every game. After that one inning, then they play top-notch ball. Before that inning, they play top-notch ball. When they get to that one inning, they just fall apart.”
In addition to SC’s stellar offensive showing, McDonald pitched well, allowing just five hits. After surrendering a first-inning home run, McDonald settled into a groove and allowed just three hits in the next five innings.
“Amanda’s been pretty consistent this year for us,” Olenchick said. “She adjusted nice and that’s one of the things we’ve been working with her on.”
McDonald provided her own bit of offense with a 3-for-4 performance, as McDonald, Orcutt-Lazo and Stanley each finished with multi-hit games.
Orcutt-Lazo said the team’s improved hitting is a result of the players’ dedication in practice.
“Before the game, at our field, we practiced hitting for like an hour and then we come here,” she said. “It helps us a lot.”
The practice showed as seven different Black Eagles batters finished with at least one hit in the victory.
In Nitro’s first game of the day, St. Albans won 4-1 behind a three-run third inning. Red Dragons starting pitcher Madi Marshall tossed a complete game, scattering a single hit, an RBI triple to Katee Jones in the third inning.
Marshall added two hits at the plate, as did her teammate Madi Chandler.
Nitro next plays host to Woodrow Wilson at 6 p.m. today, while SC plays host to Capital at 6 p.m. today.