BATH TOWNSHIP – When Bath junior Kimmy Reynolds steps into the pitching circle, there’s an air of confidence on the field for the Wildkittens.
In Tuesday’s Division II sectional final softball game against Van Wert, Reynolds demonstrated how she can put her team at ease as she allowed just two base hits and struck out 14 to lead Bath to a 10-0 run-rule victory in six innings.
Bath advances to next week’s district at Miller City. The Wildkittens will play the winner of tonight’s Defiance/Napoleon game, on May 21 at Miller City, in a semifinal. Game time is set for 5 p.m.
Against Van Wert, Reynolds did not give up a hit until the fourth inning. The Cougars mustered back-to-back hits with one out in the fourth, but Reynolds calmly got herself out of the jam by retiring the next two batters.
Out of the six innings pitched, Reynolds retired the side in order five times. Twice, she struck out the side. For the game, Reynolds threw 75 pitches.
“Giving up two hits out of six innings, we’ll take that in any tournament game,” longtime Bath coach Laura Ford said. “So, like I said before, we don’t need her to be perfect. She just needs to stay ahead of hitters and make them hit our pitches. Then, let the defense play. That’s where we’re at the top of our game.”
Reynolds gave a great deal of the credit to her teammates.
“Julia (Miller, the catcher) called a great game behind the plate. (With) those back-to-back hits, you just have to refocus and get back to what you know and go back to the fundamentals. My infield was catching those pop flies. Pitching-wise, everything was working. It was all good, all around.”
Bath (24-1) pounded 16 hits off Van Wert pitcher Jessica Klausing. In her six innings of work, Klausing struck out two, walked one and hit a batter. She tossed a total of 103 pitches.
Everyone in the Bath lineup got at least one hit against Klausing.
Reynolds also led Bath at the plate, going 3 for 4. Camille Martin, Alyssa Manley, Julia Miller, Jenna Hollar and Ellie Dackin all had two hits.
Dackin smacked a solo home run in the sixth to start a rally for the Wildkittens – an inning in which Bath scored five runs to put the game away.
After retiring 10 consecutive batters, Van Wert (11-11) finally got a couple base runners in the fourth inning. Lisa Roop hit a one-out single to shallow left field. Brittany Bigham followed Roop with a double to left, which put runners on second and third with one out. However, Reynolds closed the door on the Cougars, by retiring the next two batters.
That proved to be the only rally for Van Wert. Reynolds then retired the side in order, the next two innings.
“She (Reynolds) throws the ball really well. …She throws the ball hard,” Van Wert coach Mike McClure said. “We chased pitches out of the zone and got behind in the count and got ourselves in holes. And if you’re willing to do that against her, then she’s going to be extra tough. You have to be disciplined at the plate and hit pitches in the strike zone.”
Ford was pleased at how her team swung the bat against the Cougars.
“We were concerned, coming in, because we haven’t played since last Wednesday. We were supposed to play Friday, but we got rained out. So, we’re pleased with how many hits we got, because we got enough to win it. I’m proud of the kids, because we battled at the plate. You have to be solid top to bottom and we have been,” she said.
Bath scored three runs in the second on four hits. The big hit for the Wildkittens was a single by Dackin that scored two.
Bath added two more runs in the third. Abbi Price started the inning with a double. Jenna Hollar and Kara Dienstberger each had RBIs in the inning.
In the sixth, Bath broke the game open, scoring five runs on five hits. Dienstberger had a single that plated the final two runs for the Wildkittens.
Besides the two hits, Van Wert did not get the ball out of the infield against Reynolds.
Added Ford, “I think that’s what makes her (Reynolds) so tough. She knows that no matter where she pitches the ball, that her defense behind her will make plays.”
NOTE: Bath will host Wapakoneta on Friday for the right to claim the title outright. It will be the final league game for Bath. Celina has one WBL loss, while Bath is undefeated in league play. Game time is set for 5 p.m.