AMHERST — It hasn’t been a long career, but Amherst’s Ashlee Dahman nevertheless had a career day Tuesday.
The sophomore shortstop drilled a home run, three doubles and drove in seven runs as the Comets blanked Avon 9-0 in non-conference softball action. It was the Eagles’ season opener.
Junior Zoe Beetler hurled a six-strikeout one-hitter for her third win of the season as the Comets improved to 3-1.
She retired the first 13 batters and had a no-hitter for 5⅔ innings. She lost it when sophomore shortstop Alexis Dill hit an infield single. Beetler faced 24 batters, three over the minimum.
Let’s examine Dahman’s home run. Her shot down the left-field line ended up in one of two outfield puddles — a potential possibility the umps had discussed with the coaches and their captains before the game.
If that happened, the nearest outfielder was to let the ball lie and raise her arms. Baserunners, if any, were to continue running. The umps would then examine the lie of the ball and decide if any of the runners needed to return to a base.
So it happened with one out in the first inning and Lauren Farley, Amherst’s senior left fielder, on second with a leadoff double. Trouble was, an outfielder picked up the ball while Farley and Dahman circled the bases.
After a discussion, the umpires ruled the runs counted. There was no fielding error on the play and Dahman was credited with a homer.
“I just felt good today,” said Dahman, who said she never had as many RBIs in a game. “I have different (batting) drills I can use if I feel I need work in an area. I’ll focus on that, say inside or outside. If you work hard, you should come through. You don’t need to think if you work hard enough. Today felt really good, because I want to help my team as best I can.”
Farley scored four runs and Dahman two. The Comets belted six doubles, the other three by Farley, freshman Sarah Miller and senior catcher Brooklynn Gonzalez.
Not only did Beetler walk no one, she was seldom behind in the count and threw j73 pitches.
“I felt really good today and came out strong,” she said. “I was able to stay ahead of the hitters and as long as you’re ahead of the hitters, you’re going to be up. I worked the outside-inside a lot and then hit them with the high-low.”
Rachel Poling, the Eagles’ senior pitcher, was sharper than the score indicates. She also fanned six and walked only one. She seemed to get stronger as the game wore on, but threw 125 pitches and might have tired toward the end.
“Rachel might have missed some spots, but she threw really well,” Avon coach Ken Matuszak said. “Our bats weren’t as fast as they usually are, and we have some good hitters. That’s what we talked about in the (postgame) huddle because we expect some good things this year. But (Amherst) is a good team and they had some well-placed hits.”
Lacey Reichert, the Comets’ first-year coach, said her team scrimmaged Avon in the preseason.
“We knew they were going to be a good team, and they made us make plays,” Reichert said. “We told the girls we had to be ready in the first inning, that if we gave these guys any runs, we’re going to be in a battle. I think Zoe came out great and we made plays behind her. They put the ball in play, but we were
able to make the plays.”
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.