BATH TOWNSHIP — Wapakoneta’s 9-6 softball win over Bath on Friday, which put the Redskins alone at the top of the Western Buckeye League, was special for them.
But the way they won has become almost a part of their routine.
They hit the ball hard, they hit it often and they attacked pitches from beginning to end. Just like they’ve done most of the season.
Offense has become the No. 1 strength for them.
“We’ve been hitting the ball all year,” Wapakoneta coach Bill Sammons said. “It actually stems from our Florida trip. We saw two of the top teams in Florida and when you see those teams you’re just going to get better. We’ve played great competition, we’ve seen great pitchers.
“We knew this year in order for us to win we had to score runs. We have a young pitching staff. We knew we were going to give up runs so we needed to score runs. We worked a lot in the offseason on offense. We’ve practiced on offense a ton. Thank the Lord we hit the ball and continue to hit the ball, knock on wood,” he said.
Leadoff hitter Allie Wilson went 3 for 4, was on base four times and scored three runs for Wapakoneta (11-7, 7-0 WBL). Carlie Schroeder, Maddy Doseck, Tianna Thompson, Corrin Wilder and Kaylie Barrett all had two hits.
“We’re a very aggressive team. We come out from the get-go and just attack right away,” Wilson said.
Thompson said, “We really like to jump on first-pitch strikes. We are very, very aggressive.”
That aggressiveness started when Wilson led off the game with a line drive double down the left field line and came around to score on a single by Schroeder.
Bath (15-3, 7-1 WBL), which came into the game a half-game up on Wapakoneta in the league standings, took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Chandler Clark doubled, advanced to third base on a fly ball and scored on an infield ground out and Ruby Bolon hit solo home run.
The Wildkittens led 4-2 after three innings, but Wapakoneta’s five-run fourth inning, when nine batters went to the plate, turned the game around.
“We just knew we had to come back. We just had to keep hitting,” Wilson said.
Bath cut the lead to 7-6 in the bottom of the sixth when Clark bunted for a hit, stole second base and scored on a single by Dylan Grigsby. But after Wapakoneta scored two more runs in the top of the seventh, sophomore Rylie Jeanneret retired the last three Bath hitters in order to finish a complete game win.
“They’re a really good team. We knew it was going to be tough and we were going to have to battle and we did. But we just didn’t come out on top. There are definitely some things we can improve on. We didn’t hit probably as well as we’ve been hitting all year but it’s behind us at this point and we’ve got to look to the next game,” Bath coach Britt Lauck said.
Clark went 3 for 4 for Bath and stole two bases, making her 69 of 70 on steals in her career. Ruby Bolon was 2 for 4.
Sammons said, “They made great plays, we made great plays. It was two great teams going at each other.”
He also liked what he saw from pitcher Jeanneret (7 innings, 10 hits, 4 strikeouts, 3 walks). “This is probably the best performance Rylie has had,” he said.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.