ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — A high-powered offense, an efficient defense and a dominant pitching performance all added up in the Lady Marauders’ favor.
The Meigs softball team pounded out 10 hits and played clean in the field en route to a 10-0 victory over 10th-seeded Crooksville in a Division III sectional semifinal on Tuesday in Meigs County.
The Lady Marauders (12-6) surged to a 2-0 advantage in the first, as Peyton Rowe provided a one-out double to drive home Taylor Swartz and Breanna Zirkle.
The Maroon and Gold furthered the lead to 6-0 in the second, as Swartz, Zirkle, Shalynn Mitchell and Hannah Tackett each scored in an inning that saw the hosts manufactured four runs on four hits, a sacrifice fly and one CHS error.
Meigs widen the margin to 10-0 in the third, as they send eight hitters to the plate and scored four runs on three hits and two fielding miscues.
MHS went down in order in the fourth, while the Lady Ceramics were unable to muster any offense in the finale to close the 10-run win in mercy rule fashion for the Maroon and Gold.
Zirkle was the winning pitcher of record for Meigs, as she surrendered no runs on two hits, one walk, while striking out two batters in five innings of work. Zirkle faced just two batters over the minimum in the five inning contest, as she pitched to 17 Lady Ceramics over that span.
Zirkle also had one hit and scored three times on offense.
Swartz led the Lady Marauders at the plate with a 3-for-3 performance, including a double, two RBI, while also scoring three runs.
Rowe and Chonslyn Spaun were next with two hits. Rowe also provided four runs batted in, while Spaun finished with one RBI.
Tackett added one hit and a run scored Meigs’ effort at the dish, while Alyssa Smith provided one hit and scored once.
Mitchell also drove in one run and scored twice to conclude the offensive totals for the Lady Marauders.
Karley Hampton suffered the loss for Crooksville, allowing 10 runs on 1o hits, with no walks and no strikeouts.
Ronni Nelson provided two hits to lead the Lady Ceramics at the plate.
Logyn Chamberlain provided Crooksville’s only other base runner of the contest with a walk in the second inning.
The Maroon and Gold stranded four runners on base in the game, while CHS left two.
The Lady Ceramics were responsible for all three of the game’s fielding miscues, as the Lady Marauders committed no errors
Following the game, MHS coach Bryan Swann was candid in his assessment of his team’s performance — particularly with it taking place in the opening round of the 2018 postseason.
“I told the girls after we closed it out that I couldn’t find anything in all phases of the game we didn’t do correctly,” said Swann. “Whether it was hitting, pitching, fielding or running the bases we did very well today. That is how we are going to have to play down the stretch. We have big games coming up.”
Swann elaborated on his squad’s upcoming match-up with a familiar foe in the sectional final — Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division sister team the Alexander Lady Spartans.
“We will now get our third chance against Alexander this season,” said Swann. “We are going to have to play this way in every phase of the game. This is the best I’ve seen them play all year — we are peaking at the right time.”
Meigs returns to tournament action when they travel to face second-seeded Alexander on Friday in Albany, Ohio.
The Lady Marauders will seek to avenge a regular season sweep at the hands of the Lady Spartans, having suffered a 9-1 setback on April 20 in Rocksprings and a 6-1 loss on April 26 in Athens County.
Scott Jones can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext 2106.