UTICA — Pitcher Kat Mickley fired a two-hitter to stifle the host Utica Redskins, giving the Danville Blue Devils an important road win, 5-0, in Mid-Buckeye Conference softball action on Thursday.
“This is a big MBC win for us,” said Mickley, who struck out nine batters and walked only four. “We needed this one. I already pitched two games this week so, I just came out and tried to do the best I could.”
“Anytime we can go in a league game on the road and win and play like we did, it’s very important for us,” said Danville coach Mike Beheler. “I can’t say enough about the girls. We didn’t make any mistakes. Kat pitched a great game. We hit the ball. We only struck out one time, so we were putting the ball in play and good things happen when you put the ball in play.”
The Blue Devils got on the board quickly with a run in the first, when catcher Darci Lauderbaugh led off the game with a walk off of the losing pitcher — Utica’s Josie Layman (4 2/3 innings, eight hits, five runs). Lauderbaugh would eventually score on an error by Utica second baseman Kalyn Scott. That play sent left fielder Jessica Francis, who had doubled to third. Francis doubled twice and was 3-for-4 for the day.
Danville added another pair in the second inning when second baseman Brianna Staats walked and centerfielder Becky Buckland singled. Layman hit Lauderbaugh with a pitch to load the bases. After that, Danville third baseman Deanna Parker stroked a two-run single to make it a 3-0 ballgame. The Blue Devils chalked up 10 total hits for the game.
“The wind was blowing straight in and we were still hitting the ball hard,” said Beheler. “We got a couple of bloopers — I freely admit to that — but we hit the ball pretty hard.”
In the third inning, Danville first baseman Olivia Rice doubled. She would score on a fielding error charged to Utica first baseman Lareese Marston. The Redskins, however, led off the inning with a gem of a defensive play by Scott at second, who lunged to her barehand side to smother a grounder by Danville designated player Emily Pew. Scott threw out Pew from her knees for the first out of that inning. Utica shortstop Aubrey Mendez and third baseman Erin Rogers also turned in some good plays to retire the Blue Devils in the third.