BATH TOWNSHIP – With only two seniors on the roster this season, Bath softball coach Hannah Slavin knew her squad could be a work in progress.
After Bath’s 11-1 run-rule victory over St. Marys in Tuesday’s Division II sectional semifinal game, the Wildkittens appear to be putting it all together at the right time of the season.
Bath scored 10 runs in the first inning and received a strong pitching performance from its ace, sophomore Morgan Mosley, en route to the five-inning win on its home field.
Bath (14-7) will advance to a sectional final Friday when takes on No.1 seed Napoleon at Napoleon. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.
In her five innings of work on Tuesday, Mosley gave up one run on just two hits, while striking out four and walking two. She threw a total of 58 pitches.
Alyssa Alexander recorded both of St. Marys’ hits. Alexander hit a solo home run to lead off the second inning. She also had a single in the fourth.
“I think more and more we’re becoming more united as a team,” Slavin said. “We’re trusting each other, defensively and offensively. We have the ‘next man up, next pitch’ mentality. I’m proud of our girls for being disciplined at the plate tonight; then doing a great job behind our pitcher, defensively.”
St. Marys starting pitcher Rylee Burd struggled to find the strike zone in the first inning, giving up six walks in the opening stanza. Bath managed to score the 10 runs in the first frame on just three hits.
Tara Cooper drove a gapper to right centerfield that brought in two of Bath’s runs. Later in the first inning with the bases loaded, Annika Heminger hit a ball down the right-field line that dropped in and rolled far enough into the corner to clear the bases for a grand slam home run for the Wildkittens.
Bath’s final run of the game came in the home half of the fourth. Cooper drove the first offering from reliever Maddy Jones over the left field fence for a solo home run.
Jones took over pitching duties for St. Marys (4-14) in the second inning, and went on to close out the game for the Roughriders.
“I think our girls found their strike zone early and we were able to stay disciplined through the five innings,” Slavin said. “I don’t think we swung at very many bad pitches. I think we were looking for our pitches, and hopefully down the tournament trail that helps us.”
Along with Cooper’s two-hit performance, teammate Kali Armstrong also had two hits for Bath.
Mosley was in command of her pitches Tuesday night. Of the 15 outs for the game, Mosley forced St. Marys to ground out eight times.
“She (Mosley) gets better every single day,” Slavin said. “I love how much she’s progressed throughout the year. She has a great mentality on the mound. And as a pitcher, it helps you every time when you go out there with a lead behind you, knowing that you don’t have to be perfect. When you’re not trying to pitch perfectly, then good things happen.”
For St. Marys, it was a game that seemed out of reach, early on.
“They’re a strong team,” St. Marys coach Kendra Solomon said. “We struggled with our pitching in that first inning, and after that our defense was pretty solid, for the most part. It’s just hard to dig yourself out of a hole when that happens.”
Bath is pretty familiar with its next opponent. Bath lost to Napoleon, 5-2 in eight innings, the first week of April.
“We got a peak at them earlier this year in the 40-degree weather,” Slavin said. “I thought our girls hung well with them. .. We went extra innings. I think we’re going to have a good chance of taking one, as long as we play our game.
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