Sandy earns a 6-0 win over Union to start Spring Break
It took a few innings for the Sandy softball team to wake up the bats in its 6-0 victory over Union (Wash.) on Wednesday. Once the Pioneers did get the offense rolling, they became unstoppable.
The Pioneers mustered just one hit in the first four innings, and then everything clicked. Sandy pushed across six runs on eight hits in the fifth and sixth innings to dash out to an untouchable advantage.
They saw that pitcher a few times and they made adjustments, Sandy coach Kellie Wilkerson said. We had been hitting the ball, we were just hitting right to people. We just had to wait for the moments when they started falling in.
Pitcher Sammie Byron got the offense started when she led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a single up the middle. Presley Turin sacrificed Byron over to second with a well-placed bunt down the first baseline. Turin was safe herself when the throw to first base was dropped by the second baseman.
With a runner in scoring position, Meghan Luebbert poked a blooper into shallow left field to bring in the run. Turin advanced to third base on the play.
Wilkerson knew getting a second run would be huge, so she called for Molly Nutt to lay down a suicide squeeze. Nutt got down the bunt, so perfectly that Union pitcher Emma Alfonso had no play anywhere.
We have been working really hard on squeeze bunts, Wilkerson said. They are to the point now where they see a situation and know what to do. I like that part.
Nutt came around to score on a hard base hit by catcher Rachel Rutledge. Rutledge scored a fourth Sandy run when Union made multiple throwing errors on the next play.
In the sixth inning, Luebbert and Nutt smacked back-to-back RBI singles to put the Pioneers on top by six runs. Luebbert, Nutt, Rutledge and Byron all had multiple hits in the game.
Six runs was more than enough support for Byron, who was nearly perfect in the pitchers circle. Byron allowed just three hits as she threw a complete game shutout. The key to her success was getting groundballs as only four Union batters hit the ball out of the infield.
I feel like we have a solid defense, so I was fine with them hitting grounders because I was confident they would make the plays behind me, Byron said. It took the pressure off when we scored because once we get ahead, we play a lot better.
The win came just hours after the latest OSAA rankings revealed Sandy as the top team in 5A.