The Wildcats (23-2), who wrapped up the Patriot Athletic Conference championship a week ago, improved to 15-0 in the conference. They’re in the PAC Stars Division. Columbia (15-6), the defending Division III state runner-up, is a Stripes Division school.
“My curveball and screwball were working and it felt good today,” Shaw said. “Usually, I haven’t been having good days with my curveball, but today was different. I also threw a couple change-ups today, but they’re not always that consistent.”
The Wildcats set the tone early. They jumped on Columbia for three runs on four hits in the first inning and scored no fewer than two runs an inning thereafter. They added two runs in the second, third and fifth innings and put up another three-spot in the fourth.
“Columbia has a really great program, but our kids have been really focused,” Wildcats coach Jim Piazza said. “We’ve been really disciplined at the plate where we’re not chasing bad pitches. We’re chasing our pitches and that’s what’s helping our hitting this year. It’s been solid.
“As soon as we got here, we started talking about the first thing we have to do is let’s score, right off the bat,” he said. “We have to put pressure on them (early), because we feel at this time that if you let teams hang around that’s when (bad) things can happen. We don’t want to do that. We want to play our game and not their game.”
Keystone senior Carleigh Herrington and junior Liz Hayes each had three hits and two RBIs. Senior Jenny Schaffer, sophomores Summer Constable and Destiny Weber and freshman Sammie Stefan all had two hits for the Wildcats, one of Constable’s a double. Constable, Stefan, Weber and freshman Paige Hartley all scored twice.
“I really felt pretty good today, but I know that no matter what I do (at the plate), my teammates will be there to pick me up,” Constable said. “I guess I just did what I needed to do.”
Stefan was a third baseman as a youngster in the Ohio Girls Softball Organization, but hasn’t spent much time there since. She was moved there Thursday and turned in the defensive plays of the game, back-to-back difficult stops along the foul line and long throws to first to nail runners in the fourth inning.
“I knew I had to stay square and get to the ball,” Stefan said. “My teammates and my coaches were telling me, like, which way to move and which way to get ready for the ball. I mean it’s been a while since I’ve played third, so having everyone telling me what to do and backing me up was definitely a big help.”
Columbia had just two baserunners, starting pitcher Amanda Sedlock, who reached on an error in the second inning, and designated hitter Shelby Friedel, who walked with one out in the fifth.
“They’re a very good team, you can’t take anything away from them,” Raiders coach Ken Lugo said of Keystone. “Our girls, especially the young ones, weren’t prepared mentally and I think it we would have held them in the first inning, it might have been different.
“But they came at us right out of the gate and when that happens you’re pressing and especially for a young team, it’s hard to catch up.”
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.