UTICA — Three big hits is all it took to propel the Loudonville Redbirds past the host Utica Redskins on Thursday evening. Freshman first baseman Mekaylah Hyatt blasted a pair of two-run home runs, and Jerrica Young added a three-run shot of her own in a 10-2 Loudonville win.
The double-digit win was the second in as many days for Loudonville (2-0, 2-0 Mid-Buckeye Conference).
“Tonight, we played outstanding — defensively and offensively,” said Loudonville coach Bill Herman. “If we play like this, we can play with a lot of teams. Our conference is tough and you can’t take a day off. It is tough from top to bottom, and we found that out (Wednesday) night at East Knox. That was probably one of the best East Knox teams we have faced in my 10 years. I really appreciate the effort we got tonight.”
Hyatt got the game going early, hitting her first home run in the top of the first. That gave pitcher Kaitlin Davis a little breathing room and a 2-0 lead. Hyatt stepped back into the batter’s box in the fourth inning and once again came through with the big hit against Utica (3-2, 0-2 MBC) pitcher Tamra Londot.
“She has been outstanding,” Herman said of Hyatt. “She is a freshman, but I can’t say enough. She loves the game and works so hard at it all through the winter. When you work hard at the game, want to get better and are a student of it, it helps.”
The Redskins weren’t going to let the Redbirds get away so easily, however. Londot walked with one out, moved to second on a passed ball and advanced to third on a groundout. Teammate Aubrey Rodeniser then drove her in with a bloop single to right.
“Our main focus is not to quit, to not give up,” said Magers. “We kept going after them today. ... It was a strange game. They had seven hits and we had eight, but they doubled us up on runs. They had a couple of home runs and that was the difference.”
Loudonville kept attacking the ball, however, and doubled their offensive output in the top of the fifth. Davis led off with a walk, and pinch runner Natalie Young advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a popup, Christine Camp walked. Then Shelbie Rowe came through with an RBI single to right, scoring Natalie Young. Jerrica Young then stepped in and hit her three-run blast to make it an 8-1 game.
Utica got a run back in the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Redbirds added two more in the top of the seventh to secure the10-2 victory.
“We are a young team; I’ve only got two seniors,” said Herman. “It is so important, with the schedule we play, for us to keep the hammer down. You cannot let up at all. No lead is safe. ... I’ve been down (to Utica) before and they always come back, especially on their home turf. I never felt safe. This is the first time I’ve won here in the last two or three years.”
Davis (2-0) pitched six innings for the Redbirds. She walked three and allowed five hits and one earned run, and fanned five. Jerrica Young had three RBI on a home run, double and single for the Redbirds; Hyatt had four RBI with her two home runs; and Humphrey singled two times.
Tamra Londot (2-2) took the loss for Utica, surrendering seven earned runs on eight hits and four walks while striking out seven. Three of those hits were home runs, and Londot also threw two wild pitches. Abbie Corbett doubled twice for the Redskins, and Alli Millat doubled once. Londot, Rodeniser, Charley Rodgers and Erin Rodgers each contributed one single.
If the rest of the season continues like the first two games, Loudonville will shatter the record books. The Redbirds have scored 22 runs in 14 innings, which Herman is pleasantly surprised about.
“I sure hope so. I’ve got enough gray hair,” said Herman when asked if his team would continue its torrid pace.
Utica, after facing MBC frontrunners Johnstown and Loudonville on back-to-back days, can only chalk this up as a learning experience.
“I think this is going to help us,” said Magers. “We don’t like to lose, but it will make us better. We are getting there.”