Springfield's potent offense took control against Perrysburg with three runs in the fifth inning and then broke it open with four more runs in the sixth on Friday.
A two-run triple by senior Bre Buck gave the Blue Devils breathing room, and then sophomore Kierra Hague crushed a two-run home run for an exclamation point. The middle of Springfield's order did the bulk of the damage in an 11-5 victory in windy and chilly conditions at Perrysburg.
“Our two, three, and four hitters have quality at-bats every time,” said Springfield assistant coach Mike Haas, who was filling in for Rob Gwozdz. “We feel like we're going to score runs every time. They're swinging the bat really well.”
Hague, the No. 4 hitter, finished with three RBIs. The catcher also scored three runs.
“It feels great to be in the middle of this lineup,” Hague said. “I like being able to be the cleanup hitter and I know everyone will hit behind me too. It feels good to know we can come out and score runs and then shut the other team down.”
No. 3 hitter Hannah Girlie went 3 for 4 with a double, a triple, and the shortstop scored three runs. Libby Mathewson scored two runs and had an RBI from the No. 2 spot.
Springfield (15-4) is battling Anthony Wayne in the race for the Northern Lakes League title. The Blue Devils are 6-1 and the Generals are 7-1.
Perrysburg (7-11, 3-5) had nine hits but also committed four critical errors.
“You need to score a bunch of runs because Springfield is good,” Perrysburg coach Ryan DeMars said. “There is potential for so many of their hitters to hit a home run at any moment. There is no rest point defensively with their offense.”
Springfield starter Lauren Yates worked out of a bases loaded, no out situation in the third. Two errors led to the jam, but the Yellow Jackets cashed in with just one run. Yates coaxed an infield pop out for the first out before allowing a sac fly that pulled Perrysburg within 4-2. Yates then ended the threat by recording the third out with a fielder's choice.
“We've been telling her when trouble happens, that is when you have to step it up and get that big out,” Haas said.
DeMars said that may have been the turning point.
“Two hits there and it completely changes the complexion of the game,” he said. “We didn't play our best game, but we competed. Credit Yates and her defense. They got out of some jams.”
Mathewson started Springfield's three-run outburst in the fifth with a lead-off bunt single. Mathewson then scored on Brianna Espino's infield single. Buck tripled to score two more runs for a 7-2 lead. Buck's drive hit the base of the fence.
Mathewson and Girlie drove in single runs to start the sixth. Hague followed with her two-run home run that easily cleared the fence in left field for an 11-2 cushion.
“That went at least 250 [feet],” Haas said. “She attacked the first pitch.”
It was Hague's team-high seventh home run of the season.
Perrysburg rallied with three runs on four hits in the sixth. Torrie Zeigler drove in two with a double. But Yates then closed it out with a one-two-three seventh inning.
Zeigler, Deanna Granata, and Sydney Aman each had two hits apiece for the Yellow Jackets.
Springfield took a quick 2-0 lead in the first. Perrysburg made it 2-1 in the second when Kelsey Moore scored on a wild pitch.
Perrysburg starter Adrianne Ruen nearly got out of trouble in the third on what should have been an inning-ending double play. However, a wild throw to first allowed Hannah Girlie to score. Springfield then quickly took a 4-1 lead.