OXFORD - Before the start of the week, the Coatesville High School softball team wasn't exactly putting fear into its opponents with its offensive firepower. In fact, the Red Raiders had struggled with the bats early on. But after posting double-digit runs in each of its last two games, Coatesville might just be turning a corner.
The latest offensive outburst came on Wednesday afternoon as the Red Raiders rolled to a 12-2 victory over host Oxford in a Ches-Mont League game.
Coatesville (3-7 league) pounded out 16 hits against the Hornets (1-7).
"It is really great to see us finally starting to get the bats going,' said Coatesville coach Christine Tobelmann. "Even better to see us winning games. We just have to keep it up. There's still a long way to go in the season.'
The Red Raiders wasted little time in busting loose with the sticks on Wednesday, batting around in the top half of the first. Laura Henry sparked the rally, reaching on a one-out error. A walk to Brianna White made it first and second for Alexis Lichtner, who knocked both runners in with her first of five hits on the afternoon, this one a triple to left center.
Jackie Walsh made it back-to-back three-base hits, ripping a ball down the left field line to score Lichtner. Corrine Byerly brought Walsh home with a single up the middle.
"It feels so much better to pitch with a lead,' said Henry, who got the start in the circle for Coatesville. "It gets frustrating to pitch from behind. You put so much pressure on yourself. It's a lot easier to pitch with a lead. You just have more confidence, and can be a little more relaxed.'
The Red Raiders added a pair of runs in the second. After Henry worked a one-out walk, White followed with a triple to the deepest part of center field in the cavernous AA Fields. Lichtner brought White in with a double to left.
Lichtner showed why she hits in the number four slot for Coatesville, posting a monster day against Oxford. The Raiders' outfielder was a perfect 5-for-5 in hitting for the cycle—a triple in the first, double in the second, a single in the fourth, and a home run in the sixth. Then, for good measure Lichtner added second home run in the seventh.
"It feels like I'm finally getting back to where I used to be with my hitting,' said Lichtner. "I'm just being more patient, finding pitches I like, and driving them.'
Lichtner was hardly alone on the offensive side of things for Coatesville. The Raiders got hits from all nine slots in the order, with mutli-hit games from Jackie Walsh and Sammi Stoudt, as well as from sub Jenna Pike.
"It was great seeing so many of us hitting the way we did today,' said Lichtner. "It really was a total team effort.'
While the bats were lighting up the top half of the scoreboard, Henry was throwing well enough to keep it mostly zeroes on the bottom half. Henry went the distance for the win, moving the ball well inside the zone, and snapping off a nice curve to keep the Hornets off-balance. Henry allowed a pair of runs—both in the sixth—on six scattered hits. She struck out four and walked two.
"That was Laura's first complete game of the year,' said Tobelmann. "She was doing a great job hitting her spots, and her curve was on. It seemed like she might have been getting a little tired at the end, but she hung on and finished it off for us.'
The Red Raiders couldn't be happier with the way they've been playing.
"It was great to see us playing and swinging the bats the way we did,' said Henry. "We just have to keep hitting the way we can, and we can do well down the stretch of the season.'
Though tagged with the loss in the circle, Oxford's Carly Stoltzfus had a pretty nice day at the dish for the Hornets, with a pair of singles. Jackie Digiacomo tripled and scored for the Hornets, while Tori Kinsella doubled.
Coatesville 12, Oxford 2COATESVILLE ab r h bi HOME ab r h biA. Traband 4 0 1 1 Mitros 4 0 1 0
Whitehead 1 0 0 0 DiGiacomo 4 1 1 0
Henry 4 3 0 0 Kinsella 4 1 1 0
White 4 2 1 1 Busko 3 0 0 0
Litchner 5 3 5 6 Bulfaro 1 0 0 0
Walsh 3 1 2 1 Reith 1 0 0 1
J. Pike 2 1 2 0 B. Stoltzfus 3 0 1 0
Byelry 5 0 1 1 Bond 3 0 0 0
Stoudt 5 1 2 0 Fernandez 1 0 0 0
B. Traband 4 0 1 0
McLaughlin 4 1 1 1
Pike 0 0 0 0
Totals 41 12 16 11 Totals 27 2 6 1
Coatesville 420 022 20--12
Oxford 000 002 0-- 22B - Lichtner (C)
3B - Litchner (C), Walsh (C), White (C), Kinsella (C)
IP H R BB SO
CoatesvilleHenry 7 6 2 4 2
OxfordC. Stoltzfus 7 16 12 1 2