Trojans still pouring on runs; extend streak to 14
The rain didn’t let up Friday, and neither did the Trojan offense.
The Fairfield softball team collected 10 hits in five innings to pick up its 14th straight win, topping Columbus 11-1 via the mercy rule in Fairfield. The home win was the first for Fairfield (17-3, 6-2 Southeast Conference) since it jumped into the Class 4A state softball rankings Wednesday. The Trojans now are 15th.
“We hit the ball well and had several extra base hits. It’s sort of nice to have a game where you get ahead and don’t have to worry about every play,” said Fairfield head coach Bob Bradfield.
The Trojans never trailed, and eighth-grader Kenady Waugh kicked off the first inning with an RBI double to score Sydney Burnett. Waugh finished the game 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored to lead Fairfield.
Behind starter Alli Deao and its usual rock-solid defense, the home team’s one-run lead would hold up through the second inning, before it went off for six runs in the third.
Waugh once again got the scoring started in the bottom of the third with an RBI bunt, and Mackenzie McClure drew a bases-loaded walk to score Katie Anderson. A two-run double by Karley Williams pushed Fairfield’s lead to 5-0, and Madison Roberts and McKenna Ledger each knocked in one run to up the lead to seven.
With the rain falling harder, Deao encountered a little bit of trouble in the top of the fourth and loaded the bases with no outs, forcing Bradfield to go to his bullpen. Senior Haley Grunwald entered in relief of Deao and let her defense do the rest as Columbus managed just one run from the high-pressure situation.
“If there was a key to the game, it was during the fourth when we switched pitchers,” Bradfield said. “If they would’ve scored a few more runs there, it would’ve probably changed the whole game.”
After Columbus scored its first run, which was charged to Deao, McClure threw out a runner at home plate for the frame’s first out. On the next plays, Burnett made a run-saving catch in shallow center field for the second out, and Grunwald induced a grounder to end the inning.
Waugh opened the fourth inning with her third hit of the game, a double, and Marisa Repp singled to advance Waugh to third. Roberts scored both teammates with a two-run double to push the lead to 9-1, and Ledger punctuated the lopsided rout with a towering two-run home run over the right field fence.
The Trojans now have scored seven runs or more in each of their past seven games. Anderson, one of two seniors on Fairfield’s squad, said the secret to her team’s growing success at the plate is simple.
“We’ve done a lot better about taking more pitches, and that has helped the whole team at the plate, not just me,” Anderson said. “We all work really hard, and we’re all staying focused more.”
For the game, Ledger provided a home run, a double and knocked in three runs; Burnett was 2-for-3 with two runs plated; and Roberts doubled and supplied three RBI. Williams had a double and two runs batted in, and Repp scored twice.
Deao went three innings in the circle, allowing one earned run on three hits and a walk. Grunwald pitched two scoreless innings of relief and gave up two hits and a walk with two strikeouts.
Anderson added the Trojans are confident they can keep their current streak going deep into June.
“If we keep playing like we are and stay strong, it shouldn’t end,” said Anderson. “I hope it keeps going.”
The Trojans’ last losses occurred May 29, when they fell to Washington twice in a doubleheader sweep. The Trojans since have topped Washington, beating them in the championship game at the Fairfield Invite, to set up both teams’ biggest meeting to date when they play today in Fairfield.
“Washington is every bit as good as we are. They’ll probably come in a little upset, so I expect that to be a very competitive couple of games,” said Bradfield. “We’ll have to play well to win.”
Start time for the Southeast Conference doubleheader is 5:30 p.m.