Cardington scored early and often on Wednesday in defeating perennial KMAC softball contender Danville by a 13-0 score at home.
“Danville’s a real good team,” said Pirate coach Tod Brininger. “This was kind of an aberration for them. They misplayed a couple fly balls early on and then we started hitting. We’ll have to be really ready to go tomorrow, as well.”
After Pirate pitcher Genevieve Longsdorf got through the top of the first with no damage done, her team put four runs on the board in their half of the inning.
With one out, Dana Bertke and Hailee Edgell both drew walks and then scored on an Ari Simpson single. Riley Burchett followed with a single and then, with two outs, Longsdorf helped her cause with a two-run double.
Brininger felt his team had a good approach at the plate, showing patience and drawing five walks in the game to go with nine hits and a pair of hit batters.
“We talk about approach all the time,” he said. “Last week, we had a game with a big strike zone, so we were looking to be aggressive. Today, we had a bit smaller zone, so we told them to find a pitch and make it work.”
Despite walking two in the second inning, Longsdorf was able to escape unscathed. Brininger felt that his sophomore pitcher was able to overcome some early control issues to pitch a gem.
“We had them for one hit and that was a bunt,” he said. “We had good pitching and good defense behind her.”
Cardington got a run in the second inning when Mikayla Linkous reached on a bunt, stole second and came home on an Edgell single.
After Longsdorf pitched a perfect third inning, the Pirates then completely blew the game open in their half of the inning, scoring six to take an 11-0 lead.
Burchett was walked to open the frame and Abby Hardwick was then hit by a pitch. With two on, Longsdorf drove in the first run of the inning with a single. Brininger noted that his team is getting great production from the back of the order, saying that seventh batter Longsdorf and ninth batter Emalee Artz both batted higher in the order last year and that eighth battler Kayleigh Ufferman has improved at the plate this year.
“They can hit,” he said. “It’s nice not having to depend on one or two girls. We can do a lot of damage with the bottom of our order.”
With one out and runners at the corners, Artz was hit to load the bases. Linkous would bring in one run with a hard hit ball and Bertke then recorded a three-run triple and took home on the play thanks to an errant throw home by the Blue Devil defense.
Longsdorf would work around a pair of base runners in the top of the fourth inning and then her team picked up two more scores in the bottom of the inning. Hardwick and Longsdorf drew back-to-back one-out walks, with Hardwick then scoring on a passed ball and the final run scoring on a single by Morgan Powell.
Offensively, the team got a triple from Bertke, a double and single from Longsdorf and a pair of singles by Linkous. Longsdorf also struck out 10 and walked four, while pitching a five-inning one-hitter.
For his part, Brininger was just happy to get a game in, as poor weather has made that tricky to do this year. He added that having a squad with a lot of upperclassmen makes dealing with schedule changes more tolerable.
“They know what to expect,” he said. “They know about constant schedule changes. Thankfully, we played in Florida (during spring break) and got some good weather. When we saw the sun, we said it’s perfect. Fifty degrees and sunny is perfect.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS