DANVILLE — Loudonville pitcher Andi Van Sickle fired a complete game five-hitter, striking out eight, to take down the host Danville Blue Devils, 5-2, in Tuesday’s Mid-Buckeye Conference showdown.
With the win, the Redbirds (12-1) claim sole possession of the MBC crown. Had Danville (11-3) won, both teams would have shared the honor.
Danville starting pitcher Kat Mickley appeared to have a little trouble finding her spots early. Loudonville centerfielder Natalie Young singled and Van Sickle walked to start the game. Third baseman Alexis Van Horn drove them both in with double to give the Redbirds a quick 2-0 lead.
“We had several girls sick,” said Danville coach Mike Beheler. “They played anyway so you’ve got to give them their due but that’s no excuse, (Loudonville) hit the ball and they won. Loudonville is a very, very good team. They had (nine) hits, we only had one error and they scored. There’s not much you can do about it. They earned it.”
In the third inning, first baseman Mekayla Hyatt doubled with Van Horn aboard to up the Redbirds’ lead to 3-0. In the following inning, Van Sickle drove in two more runs. She further helped her own cause by retiring the first 11 Blue Devils that she faced.
Danville leftfielder Jessica Francis ended the drought, getting a single with two out in the fourth. She and first baseman Olivia Rice were both stranded when designated player Emily Pew hit into a 5-3 ground out.
Danville got two aboard again in the sixth when catcher Darci Lauderbaugh led off with a walk. Later, Rice drew her second two-out walk of the game. Once again Van Sickle reached back and found the right pitch, striking out Pew to end the inning.
The Blue Devils finally broke through in the seventh when second baseman Brianna Staats had an RBI double with shortstop Samie McFadden aboard to put her team on the board. Centerfieder Becky Buckland singled to put runners at the corners. Lauderbaugh followed with an RBI single to close the gap to 5-2.