Jonathan Alder’s Cierra Clark slides into second base as she is forced out at the bag on Tuesday. The Lady Pioneers went on to score a 13-3 run-rule triumph over River Valley during the Division II district semifinals at Olentangy High School.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
A look at the calendar will tell you that Thanksgiving is still six months away.
Just don’t tell that to members of the Jonathan Alder High School softball team.
The Lady Pioneers absolutely feasted on the offerings made by a trio of River Valley pitchers on Tuesday.
Alder munched down those efforts to the tune of 18 hits during a 13-3, run-rule victory in a Division II district semifinal game at Olentangy High School.
No. 2-seeded JA, which ran its record to 25-1, set the tone early by plating five runs off Viking starting pitcher Riley Alcorn in the bottom of the first.
Lindsey Potter led off with a double, while Emily Walker was issued a walk.
Alcorn plunked Jillian Jaske with a pitch to load the bases.
The righty from River Valley (the No. 9 seed) looked like she might escape unscathed when she coaxed a couple of popups for outs.
Alder’s Caitlin Craig made sure that wouldn’t happen.
The Pioneer catcher blooped a single over the third base bag that gave the Lady Pioneers a 2-0 lead.
Cierra Clark reached safely on a fielder’s choice in which no out was made.
JA took a 3-0 lead when River Valley committed an error off Jaden Phelps’ bat.
Danielle Robbins then drove in runs four and five with a base hit.
Alcorn got a foul ball out to end the inning and leave a pair of runners on base.
Pioneer freshman pitcher Marlee Jacobs kept the Vikings off the scoreboard for the first three innings.
During that time, she allowed four base runners, but was never threatened with a score.
The Lady Pioneers staked Jacobs to a 9-0 lead with four runs in the third.
Clark led off with a single, but was erased at second when Phelps was safe on a fielder’s choice.
Phelps advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on Robbins’ base hit.
At that point, the Vikings brought in Maizie Frank to pitch.
She was greeted by a single from Potter and then a base hit by Walker that drove in Alder’s seventh run.
Jacobs later helped herself at the plate with a base hit that pushed JA out to a 9-0 advantage.
Jacobs, who hadn’t pitched since last Thursday after tweaking an ankle, surrendered the Vikings’ first run during the visitor’s portion of the fourth.
Taylor Hecker led off with a base hit and McAllah Spaulding drew a walk.
Both advanced on Makenna Rogers’ sacrifice bunt.
Frank drew the throw to first base on a fielder’s choice that allowed Hecker to score.
Jacobs ended any additional threat, however, with a strikeout.
Alder put itself in position to end the game with the run rule in the fifth against Sydnee Corwin, RV’s third pitcher.
Walker singled and swiped second.
She scored on Jacobs’ one-out base hit.
Armed with a 10-1 lead, the Lady Pioneers needed just one more run to finish the contest.
Corwin, though, induced a grounder and notched a strikeout to send the game into the sixth.
The Vikings made a consolation dent into JA’s lead with a pair of runs during the inning.
Hecker drew a one-out walk and Rogers reached on a two-out fielding miscue by the Lady Pioneers.
Sophia Thompson singled in a run and Devan Miller followed with a double that pulled the team from Marion County to within 10-3.
A line drive out, however, stranded two runners.
That last attempt by the Vikings was indicative of their efforts at the plate for much of the day.
The visitors drilled several offerings that zipped right into Alder gloves, including a double play ball from third baseman Jaske to first baseman Kelsey McDonald earlier in the game.
Corwin looked as though she might force the game into the top of the seventh when she retired the first two Alder batters in the bottom of the sixth.
Robbins, however, kept the inning alive by putting down a perfect bunt that died a couple of feet in front of the plate.
She raced down the first base line for the base hit.
Potter followed with a single.
Walker strode to the plate needing to put the ball out of the yard in order to invoke the run rule.
Corwin’s first two pitches were off the plate before she got one in the strike zone for a 2-1 count.
Walker turned on the pitcher’s next offering and sent the ball screaming toward center field.
Robbins and Potter were already off to the races on contact.
Walker, however, was able to slow her pace down as the ball cleared the fence to end the game.
Alder coach Dave McGrew was pretty pleased with the outcome.
“As a coach, you always want to see a flawless game,” he said. “We were a little out front with some of our swings, but overall we hit the ball well.
“Marlee pitched well, considering she hadn’t thrown in five days,” he said. “However, she’s been given a clean bill of health.”
Jacobs yielded six hits, fanned five and walked two.
Despite a couple of fielding miscues, McGrew was pleased with the defense.
“I think we have one of the best defenses in the state,” he said.
The Lady Pioneers will play fifth-seeded Granville for the district championship.
The game will be played at Pickerington Central High School on either Friday or Saturday at a time to be determined.
RV 000 102-3 6 1
JA 504 013-13 18 2
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