Junior Delaney Hoyle throws a one-hit, 13-strikeout shutout and homers twice.
So far, it’s been so far, so good for the Lakeridge softball team.
OK, how about this? So far, so very, very good.
The Pacers won their third straight game by double-digits in non-league play on Wednesday, March 22, routing previously unbeaten South Albany 11-0 in six innings at Lakeridge High School.
“We’ve been practicing a lot in the barn and hitting a lot and I just feel like (the key was) coming out as a team,” said Lakeridge junior third baseman Ella Privatsky, who went 4 for 4 at the plate with a triple, two RBIs and one run scored. “The energy in the dugout just makes it so much fun and you’re not nervous up there. You’re playing for the team instead of for yourself and that’s why I think our bats are so alive.”
“I felt good. I felt relaxed. I felt confident. I knew my team was behind me and (junior catcher Elayna Jansen) is always making me look good so I felt pretty confident,” said Pacer junior pitcher Delaney Hoyle, who shut out the RedHawks on one hit and two walks while striking out 13 in six innings. She also went 4 for 4 at the plate with two home runs (her third and fourth of the young season) and two doubles with three RBIs and two runs scored. “I trust the coach, my dad (Pacers head coach Howard Hoyle), to call my pitches so I feel pretty confident with what I do.”
“I felt really good, but I know I could do better,” said Jansen, who went 3 for 3 at the plate and added one walk. “I had three singles and I walked, but it was okay. I can live with it.”
With the win, the Pacers’ third straight, Lakeridge improved to 3-0 in non-league play. Next up, the Pacers play at Glencoe at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 24.
Class 5A South Albany, meanwhile, saw its two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 2-1 in non-league play. The RedHawks’ lone hit came from freshman second baseman Maddie Angel, who went 1 for 3 at the plate with a two-out infield single in the top of the third inning.
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While Delaney Hoyle issued one of her two walks in the top of the first inning, she also struck out the side and set the table for her team to take the lead in the bottom of the frame.
There, in the bottom of the first, Privatsky led off with a single to left field, and with one out, Hoyle blasted a pitch from South Albany senior Kenzie Hale over the fence in right-center field to give her team a 2-0 lead.
Hoyle struck out all three batters she faced in the top of the second, and in the bottom half of the stanza, Lakeridge junior first baseman Livia Safranski led off with a bloop single to center, stole second, stole third and scored on a throwing error by the RedHawks catcher to make it 3-0.
Hoyle added another strikeout in the top of the third, and after Angel’s two-out single, she stranded Angel at first by getting South Albany senior Leanne Parks to ground out to Pacer sophomore second baseman Macy Safley.
Lakeridge then broke through for five runs in the bottom of the third. Hoyle led off with a double to center, took third on a RedHawks error and freshman pinch runner Anna Hubbs scored when South Albany couldn’t handle Jansen’s ground ball to make it 4-0.
With one out, Safley smashed a triple to center field that plated sophomore pinch runner Millie Mackenzie, and Safley scored on Safranski’s bunt single. Finally, after a walk by sophomore Finley Dickson and a sacrifice bunt from freshman Madeline Moehl, Privatsky hit an opposite-field triple down the right field to drive in two more runs and give her team an 8-0 lead.
Hoyle provided most of the highlights in the fourth, striking out two batters in a 1-2-3 RedHawks at-bat, then led off the bottom of the inning by homering to center for a 9-0 lead.
After a scoreless fifth inning and a four-batter South Albany sixth — with Hoyle adding another four strikeouts to her total — the Pacers ended the game with two more runs in the bottom of the frame.
Hoyle led off with a double off the top of the left-field fence, Jansen walked and Safley followed with a two-run double off the left field fence to end the game.
“(The key is) the energy, because whenever there’s an error or someone strikes out, there’s no negativity,” Privatsky said. “We just build each other up and that makes it so much easier. We all know that we have each other’s backs so then you can go out there and just play and not think you’re going to mess it all up.”
“I’ve seen our progression and I’ve seen how hard we work and I know that whenever we see better competition, we always want to work harder to just be better,” Jansen said. “And I know that we don’t give up. I think we’ll just fight harder than the team we’re against.”
“I’m very proud of our team this year,” Delaney Hoyle added. “We worked really hard all winter, all fall really. We’ve been working out since September and it shows. All of us are friends with each other. The team is so bonded with each other, we have so much energy and we play for each other.”
Safley went 2 for 4 with a triple, a double, three RBIs and one run scored, while Safranski was 2 for 2 and scored twice.
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