KINNIKINNICK – It was apparent that D’Lani Swackhammer’s left leg was bothering her inside the pitcher’s circle in all seven innings, Wednesday night.
Swackhammer, who is battling a strained quad, could be seen grimacing after almost every hurl towards home plate. But to her credit, the junior powered through the pain to reach an end result that ultimately brought relief in the form of a 9-3 victory over Adena.
“At the beginning of the year, D’Lani wasn’t expecting to be thrown in the position that she’s in,” Zane Trace assistant coach Don Davis said. “She was looking at next year to take over the number one pitcher responsibilities. But when Morgan (Geno) went down (with an injury), she really started to step up. She’s done a great job and tonight is no different.”
Swackhammer also served as the catalyst in the heart of Zane Trace’s batting order, leading a powerful charge from the Pioneers’ top four hitters that included going a combined 9-15 with four doubles, four runs and five RBIs.
“We’ve been having a tough time scoring here recently,” Davis said. “(Adena’s) Brooklyn Detty is not a bad pitcher by any means and we hit her pretty well tonight. That started with our one through four hitters. That’s why they’re batting where they’re batting.”
Adena struck first blood after lead-off hitter Carly Carroll came around to cross home plate on an RBI single off the bat of Kaitlyn Davis in the top of the first inning.
Zane Trace (8-7, 6-5 Scioto Valley Conference) would quickly answer in the bottom half of the inning with an RBI single of their own — via Swackhammer — that plated third baseman Taylor Stacy.
Wtih the score knotted up at one, the Warriors then took their second lead of the ballgame in the top of the third as Natalee Jones joined the hit parade, knocking in Kacey Felts to put Adena up 2-1.
But it was the same old unfortunate song and dance for Adena (6-6, 6-5 SVC) in the bottom half of third as the Pioneers were able to answer yet again, tying the game at two, thanks to a sacrifice fly from Katie Unger.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Zane Trace took its first lead of the contest, 4-2 — one they would never give back. Alli Jones started the inning with a triple and advanced to home on a throwing error before Ashton Ward doubled off the outfield fence. Ward would later score on an RBI double via Kaylea Cook.
After each team traded scores in the fifth inning, the Pioneers held a 5-3 lead heading into the sixth — an inning in which they proceeded to blow the doors off the hinges.
After Jordan Fornash led off the inning with a single, Stacy decided that a two run lead simply wasn’t enough and drove a deep fly ball into the left center field gap, plating Fornash and giving Zane Trace a 6-3 edge. After Unger flew out to center, Swackhammer logged yet another base hit — her fourth on the night — to score Stay, making it 7-3.
The Pioneers would get their next two runs off an error and an RBI single from Tori Edler, rounding out the final count.
“Adena is a good team and Coach (Greg) Storts has done a great job with his girls,” Davis said. “They came in her above .500 and have proven that they can compete with any team in the SVC. They beat us in the first game we played this season against them. We came back tonight and got a needed win.”
Swackhammer (5-4) earned the win on the bump, throwing all seven frames, allowing three earned runs on 11 hits while striking out five and issuing three walks.
Detty (6-6) took the loss, throwing all seven as well. She was charged with five earned runs on 17 hits.
At the plate, Swackhammer went 4-4 to lead the Pioneers, including a double and two RBIs. Stacy followed, going 2-4 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI.
For Adena, Carroll led the offense by going 2-3 with a walk and a run. Abby Stark also had two hits and stole a base.
Both teams will be back in action, Friday, as Zane Trace travels to Southeastern and Adena makes a trip to Huntington.