When St. John Vianney and Red Bank Catholic squared off three weeks ago, it took the Lancers a few innings to find its offense.
On Thursday, the Lancers wasted no time scoring runs off Caseys pitcher Emily Simon, scoring twice in the first inning before adding runs in each of the next five innings en route to a 10-1 rout in a Shore Conference Class A Central battle.
“We came out really pumped up for this one,” said senior Amanda Durham, who led a 15-hit barrage with three hits, including a double. “We worked hard in practice leading up to this game and everything clicked today.”
With all right-handed batters in the lineup, the Lancers (11-1, 10-0) did a fantastic job of hitting the outside pitch the opposite way, swatting eight balls into right or right-center field, including four of six extra-base hits.
“We’re always looking to hit that outside pitch the other way, but today we really did it well,” Durham said. “We keep things simple. See the ball and hit the ball. That’s the best way to go.”
And it worked, as St. John Vianney grabbed a 2-0 lead right away when Durham led off the game with a single to center, stole second and went to third on a groundout, before scoring on a single to right by Claire Steffanelli, who later scored on a throwing error.
In the second inning, Ashley Ventura started things off by getting hit with a pitch, before Durham singled to right with two outs and both runners scored when Jackie Gallagher delivered a triple down the right-field line to make it 4-0.
After an error led to another Lancers run in the third, St. John Vianney struck again when Durham led off with a double to left and scored on Gallagher’s single to center. A single by Ventura sandwiched between a pair of doubles by Erica Krumbine and Marlena Bevilacqua made it 8-0, before Gallagher, who went 3-for-4, drove in another run with a single to left to make it a nine-run game.
The Caseys (8-2, 8-2) managed their only run in the top of the sixth, when Brynne Bauman singled with one out, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a double off the bat of Sara Dnistrian. But St. John Vianney came back with a run in the bottom half of the inning, when winning pitcher Kate Beriont, who went 2-for-4, doubled to right-center with one out and scored on a single to right-center by Krumbine, to regain the nine-run advantage.
Beriont gave up a double to Laura Wickham in the seventh, but struck out a batter and induced two groundouts to Ventura at first to close out the contest, finishing with 11 strikeouts and a walk.
“Scoring in the first inning and getting our morale up was huge,” Durham said. “If you have a good first inning, you’ve got everything going for you. Then you just have to keep adding to that momentum, and that’s what we did today.”