By Brad Morris
Teays Valley concluded a stretch of seven games over six days on Saturday by pounding out 31 hits in wins of 10-8 over host Olentangy Berlin and 14-8 against Westerville Central.
The Vikings (9-2) won five of the seven games during the stretch, with their first two losses of the season coming in a pair of walk-off setbacks against defending Division II state champion Wooster Triway, 3-2 and 6-5, on Friday in northeast Ohio.
“I was impressed with our resiliency to bounce back from a four-hour bus ride and two tough losses to Triway on Friday and to play with the focus we played with against both Olentangy Berlin and Westerville Central,” Teays Valley coach Derrick Hastler said. “Our girls were locked in today and hit the ball pretty well and they also played a pretty clean defensive game.
“We had a couple of errors in the two games, but they were from giving maximum effort and those are the ones that I can live with.”
Teays Valley continued to add to its lead in the opener against Olentangy Berlin to win its first game of the day, including scoring three times in the fourth inning to take a 7-3 lead.
Sydney Manring led off the frame with an infield single off the pitcher and advanced to third one out later on a double to right off the bat of Morgan Cantrell.
Manring scored on a passed ball with Cantrell moving up to third.
Alyvia Lawrentz joined Cantrell on the base pads when she legged out an infield single to the third baseman and Reagan Mengerink followed with a single to left to knock in Cantrell.
After a pop out, an error allowed Lawrentz to come around and score.
Teays Valley tacked on two more runs in the sixth to take a 9-3 lead.
Mengerink singled to right and Alyssa Brown doubled to right.
Following a pop out, Isabel Sayre lined a drive to right to chase home both runners.
The Bears narrowed their deficit to 9-4 in their half of the inning, but the Vikings immediately countered in the seventh on back-to-back doubles off the bats of Mengerink and Brown to tack on another run.
Olentangy Berlin (6-2) made it a close game in its final at-bat by scoring four runs.
“We are still working on learning to finish games,” Hastler said. “We let teams creep back into games a little bit too much for my liking and then we had the lead in both games, including once going to the bottom of the seventh, on Friday against Triway but we were not able to close them out.
“Our team is a mix of young and some experienced players, so we are still working through our youth a little bit and what it takes consistently to have success at the varsity level.”
Mengerink and Brown both went 4-for-5, with Mengerink driving in two and scoring twice and Brown driving in a run and scoring twice to lead the Vikings. Cantrell was 3-for-4, including a two-run homer, with two RBI and two runs scored. Lawrentz had two hits and scored twice, and Michelle Brumfield singled twice and scored.
Sayre scattered seven hits and three earned runs over five innings to earn the win in relief. She walked none and struck out two.
The Vikings erupted for 11 runs in their first three at-bats against the Warhawks.
Brumfield worked a walk and advanced to third on a single to center courtesy of Cantrell.
After a strikeout, an error allowed Brumfield to score and tie the game at 1-1. Cantrell came around to score on a fielder’s choice ground out by Brown.
The Vikings went back to work in the second with Sayre singling to center and Aimee DeWeese reaching on an error. Another error on a grounder hit by Manring allowed both Sayre and DeWeese to round the bases and score.
Following a walk to Brumfield, Cantrell lined a single to left that allowed courtesy runner Kenzie Carte to score. Brumfield then scored on a delayed double steal that also saw Cantrell swipe second.
Mengerink chased home Cantrell on a single back up the box to put the Vikings ahead 7-1.
Westerville Central (6-2) scored twice in the third, but the Vikings countered in their half of the inning with four runs.
DeWeese and Manring reached on back-to-back singles and were sacrificed over by Brumfield.
Cantrell then smacked a two-run double to right that put the Vikings ahead 9-3.
Following a sacrifice by Lawrentz, Mengerink smashed a two-run homer over the center field fence.
Cantrell went a perfect 4-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored, Mengerink was 2-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored and Brown contributed a 2-for-4 performance with an RBI and run scored.
“The girls are doing a nice job of looking for their pitch to hit and they are hitting the softball consistently pretty hard,” Hastler said. “We are also doing a nice job of recognizing situations, where the girls don’t have to rely on the coaches to tell them to do something. They are making quality decisions and we are helping when they reach a blind spot when they are running the bases.”
Manring earned the complete game win for the Vikings, who resume Mid-State League Buckeye Division play on Monday at Fairfield Union.