August 1, 2014

Elyria
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Softball: Perkins makes Amherst their latest local victim

AMHERST — Don’t be surprised if they are waiting at the county line to turn back the bus the next time the Sandusky Perkins softball team rolls into town.

For the second time in five days the Pirates journeyed east and beat one of Lorain County’s top teams on its home field. Monday the victim was Amherst as Perkins pounded out 12 hits and took advantage of three Comets errors in a 7-1 non-conference victory.

The Pirates — now 5-0 this season — beat Elyria 5-4 on Thursday.

“We don’t take anything for granted,” Perkins shortstop Kelsey Vaughn said. “We look at every team on our schedule as top-level competition and we prepare accordingly.”

Vaughn, the leadoff hitter, was one of two Pirates with three hits in the game. The other was pitcher Darcy Daniel, who also drove in a pair of runs.

“Right now we just have some girls that are really on fire,” Perkins coach Matt Yaratch said. “We have girls on this team who are hitting over .700 after the first five games. We’re hitting well and we’re pitching well. That’s a good combination.”

Amherst (5-1) wasted two prime scoring opportunities in the first two innings.

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In the first, Ashlee Dahman led off with a single and Lauren Farley followed by reaching base on a Perkins error. Despite having runners on second and third with no outs, the Comets were unable to score. An inning later, Amherst loaded the bases but again couldn’t get a runner across the plate.

“We had lots of chances in the early innings but made some bad decisions and took too many called third strikes,” Amherst coach Bill Matthews said. “But that’s OK. We are a young team and these early season games really don’t matter that much. It’s just good to be able to face a team like Perkins and learn from it before we get into conference play.”

To say the Comets are a young team might be an understatement — starting pitcher Zoe Beetler was one of three freshmen on the field for Amherst. Beetler (3-1) began the game by striking out the first four Perkins hitters. When the Pirates put the ball in play a stiff wind blowing in from right field made every fly ball an adventure, allowing Perkins to score an unearned run in the second and another in the fifth while building a 4-1 lead.

Although Beetler gave up 12 hits, she still managed to strike out 10 while only walking two.

The only Amherst run came in the fourth inning after Mallory Harrell led off with a double. Two batters later another freshman, Ashley Cogdell, drove in pinch runner Katelyn Pittman with a single to center field.

After Perkins added another run in the sixth and two more in the seventh, Daniel retired the Comets in order in the seventh to complete her fourth win of the year.

“When I get in a jam in the pitchers circle I just have to trust my defense,” Daniel said. “I have a really good defense behind me. They made some nice plays today.”

The best defensive play of the day was turned in by Comets junior left fielder Farley, who sprinted down the left-field line into foul territory to make a running catch of a Summer Seitz popup to end the sixth inning.

Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.