NEW WASHINGTON – Who would have thought that losing could have helped the Colonel Crawford Lady Eagles softball team so much? After dropping three of four last week, the Lady Eagles have dominated since this time beating the Buckeye Central Buckettes 10-0 at Buckeye Central High School on Wednesday evening.
The Lady Eagles are riding the right arm of freshman pitcher Sydney Studer. The youngster shut out Crestline on Monday and threw another complete game shut out on Wednesday. Head coach Chuck Huggins knows that he is witnessing a special relationship between Studer, freshman catcher Karissa Rowlinson, and assistant coach Carl Diebler, Studer’s grandfather.
“Sydney and Karissa have been connected at the hip since they were able to play softball at a young age. Having Carl as my assistant and Sydney’s grandfather, I can trust those three to handle the pitching situation. It makes my job easy, because I do not have to worry a bit about what those three are doing and thinking. It always leads to success so I trust them,” Huggins said.
The Lady Eagles took two innings to figure out Buckeye Central junior pitcher Tiffany Armstrong. She kept Colonel Crawford at bay allowing just a single run in the top of the second. A deadly mixture of errors and timely hits allowed the Lady Eagles to break it open in the third with six runs, all with two outs.
Sophomore Alexus Burkhart smacked a double and drove in three runs, junior Lexi Hoepf added two singles and scored twice for Colonel Crawford. Freshman Lydia Strouse had the best day at the plate out of all of the hard hitting Lady Eagles going 3-3 with a pair of singles, a double, two RBI and a run scored. Sophomore Abbie Bradshaw collected two singles of her own, and Jada Klingenberger hit a single and a double to round out the Lady Eagles offensive attack.
Huggins saw something he has not seen out of his team all season, possibly because they have not been able to have many with the condensed rain out schedule, a very intense practice on Tuesday night.
“After that Crestline game, it is like something has switched in this team. I went out to the practice field and I did not even have to say a word. This team came out and had one of the best practices I have ever seen in my coaching career. I have no business in how other teams are performing at this time of the season, but my team is really clicking. It is that time of year where teams either pack it up or pick it up,” Huggins added.
The Buckettes were able to pound out four hits, all singles. Senior Maddie Fagan, junior Skylar Johnson, senior Hailey Hildebrand, and senior Natalie Dentinger were the Buckettes who tallied hits.
Studer had yet another stellar pitching performance going the distance in the shut out allowing four hits, walked one and struck out three. The freshman has allowed just six hits in her last two pitching performances.
The Lady Eagles (15-5 10-2 N10) will host the Buckettes (7-11 4-9 N10) on Thursday in the series finale and will have a tough week ahead when they play the top two teams in the league, Carey and Upper Sandusky, in two game series’. The Lady Eagles control their own destiny, but they know that they cannot look too far ahead.
“It may be an old coach’s cliché, but we need to focus on tomorrow. Buckeye is a team that seems to respond well and knock teams off so we need to be ready,” Huggins added.