Roosevelt softball coach Luke Darrah preaches batting competition
KENT — Minutes into Tuesday afternoon’s softball game, Luke Darrah was not happy.
Coach Roosevelt continued to make the same simple point.
“It can’t be that easy.”
It was a point of attention on Tuesday, after the Rough Riders went down 1-2-3 on just eight shots off the top of the first, and it has been a point of attention throughout the season.
“I forget who we were playing against the other day, but we had an inning where we swung three first pitches and we hit them off the end of the stick and they were three quick outs,” Darrah said. “So you hate to take the bat out of a batter’s hand, but we’ve been working on extending the bat, maybe tracking the first pitch, doing something to make that pitcher work a little more. “
Roosevelt made the necessary adjustments on Tuesday to record a 10-0 win over suburban American rival Barberton.
After a bottom nine pitches from the first, the Rough Riders saw 39 pitches in a marathon down the second.
The fun started with Roosevelt senior catcher Megan Moser taking ball one, then smashing out the second pitch, she saw the second baseman’s glove and in the middle.
Then came a batting marathon from third baseman Shelby Ellsworth, who fouled a two-pitch pitch, watched a 2-2 pitch fall just low, fouled a high total-count pitch, then lined up the next 3-2 offering up midfield to tackle the game’s first inning.
Then came another batting marathon this time by Ashley Legg. After the sophomore pitcher blew the first pitch she saw deep left — but foul — she battled from a 1-2 count to work a walk.
This two-stroke success was no coincidence, according to Darrah, but rather the result of hard work.
“We work a lot on the two-strike count, not taking the huge swing and our pitching selection,” Darrah said. “We’re going to get two strikes against us from time to time, but we have to choke and we have to change our attitude, change our approach when we get two strikes, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that all the time. year.”
And that two-strike hit allowed Roosevelt to post a twisted number.
After Ellsworth’s marathon batting turned into a hit and Legg’s turned into a walk, Kasie Crabtree scored a low left pitch for an RBI single and a 2-0 lead. Avery Gates, hitting nine, followed with a right bloop that doubled the Rough Riders advantage.
“[Gates] struggled the last two games,” Darrah said. “She’s a rookie, she’s a really good hitter and she’s struggling, so we took her out of the three holes and moved her down in alignment trying to take some of the pressure and she’ll get it back. She’s going to be doing online workouts again and she’s pretty mentally tough herself as a freshman.”
Skylar Benedik and Moser, third and fourth batting in the lineup, added the finishing touches as Benedik drove a ball into the right field gap just out of the center fielder’s reach for a 2-RBI triple and Moser clipped a single between third and short to put Roosevelt up 7-0.
Solid two-hit strike.
Simple line drives.
That’s exactly what the doctor ordered for the Rough Riders, who sent 12 batters home in the inning, totaling six hits.
“Just to see them do some of the things that we teach them, trying to raise their softball IQ a bit, it’s kind of fun to watch them,” Darrah said. “It’s kind of fun to watch them do it and pull it off.”
Maya Sheller, Shelby Ellsworth and Amirah Fouad Make Golden Glove Games for Roosevelt
As the Magics spent an eternity in the wintry winds of Kent in this low second, the Rough Riders managed to get back into the dugout fairly quickly, thanks to some fine throws from Legg (5 IP, 4 H, 0 R) and a few superb defense.
Legg struck out only one batter Wednesday, but that was fine, especially with the performance of the defense.
Late in the first, with runners at first and second and one out, Barberton dropped a bloop just over shortstop, but Roosevelt was able to get the ball in and get the force at third just on time. Crabtree followed with a sprint to the right field line to catch a tricky fly and end the inning.
In the third, Legg gave up a first single, but Roosevelt responded again with great defense as Ellsworth, managing the aptly named hot corner, caught a scorching line headed straight to his head and shot first for the double-dealing.
“When you catch the ball and you don’t walk with someone and hit the ball, you’re going to have a good day and it doesn’t matter who you’re playing against, but you have to catch the ball,” Darra said. “There are games where we didn’t catch the ball very well, but today we did.”
In the fourth, after another Magics first single, it was second baseman Amirah Fouad’s turn to show up defensively, as she twice got to the second base sack just in time to get the runner from headers from Ellsworth and shortstop Skylar Benedik. Fouad capped the round by racing a punch to end the fourth.
Fittingly, the game ended with a bigger defense, as center Maya Sheller sprinted into left field space and stretched her glove to make a nice catch for the second out, then overcame that with a spectacular diving catch into left-field space. for the final off the ball game.
“She’s been playing really well on the defensive center field since the middle of last year and the beginning of this year,” Darrah said. “She’s got all the tools to be a good defensive player. She’s got speed, her glove is getting better all the time, and it’s a shame she’s a senior, but she’s done, what, three really good taken today. They weren’t routine and the last one certainly wasn’t.”