It’s not every day that a softball player whacks two home runs and drives in nine RBI. Garaway infielder Hannah Halstead is starting to make it look like it’s a normal, everyday occurrence.
Earlier this season, Halstead mashed a pair of grand slams and drove in eight runs, and on Tuesday, April 19 at Hiland High School, she was at it again, powering a pair of long home runs and driving in a school-record nine RBI to pace the Lady Pirates to a comfortable 18-2 victory over the Lady Hawks.
”I’m just looking to relax and hit something hard,” said Halstead.
Halstead had five RBI in the first inning, and her coach, Dennis Koshmider, joked with her about getting the RBI record. She took it to heart, and in the seventh inning, with the bases juiced, she had a shot at something truly spectacular, if she could connect again. Instead, she battled reliever Cheyenne Schrock to a full count, fouled off a couple of pitches and eventually drew a walk, driving in her ninth run.
“I kept fouling off pitches trying to get my pitch, but I ended up walking, which is OK, because I was still able to tie the record,” said Halstead. “But that comes secondary to playing on this team. I feel honored to play with such a great group of teammates.”
With Garaway standing now at 14-0 and Hiland struggling at 2-12, there was a good chance of this game getting ugly, and it didn’t take long, as Garaway posted a nine-spot in inning number one. Garaway’s big inning was highlighted by Halstead’s three-run dinger and two-run double and freshman Chelsi Rothacher’s three-run triple.
To their credit, the Lady Hawks came in swinging, and put up two runs. Brittany Wengerd and Lindsey Yoder started the game with singles off of Allison Luneborg, and with two outs, Ashley Weaver drew a walk and freshman Hannah Gerber leashed a single to right to plate a pair.
“I give our kids credit, they didn’t get down after that big first inning,” said Hiland coach Ellie Beam. “We came out swinging aggressively, which was awesome to see.”
However, Garaway’s firepower up and down the line-up has been terrorizing opponents all season long, and the seven runs they scored in the second inning were more than enough to put any doubt away in the contest.
Luneborg singled to start the inning and Kassidy Reidenbach walked, allowing Ashleigh Rothacher to single in a run. Then Chelsi Rothacher capped of her huge night with a three-run tater to make it 13-2.
Normally, a six-RBI night would stand out, and the freshman certainly has shown she is more than capable of being a big part of this juggernaut Lady Pirates offense, but on this night, six RBI had to take a back seat to Halstead.
A walk and a double by Abby Detweiler brought Halstead to the plate again, and she unleashed a long drive over the wall in right to make it 16-2.
Hiland continued to put up good at bats, but Luneborg was solid, as was Kassidy Reidenbach in relief.
A Sierra Slentz triple in the fourth and a long sacrifice fly by Amber Monigold plated the 17th run, then in the fifth the Lady Pirates scored again as Halstead drew the bases loaded walk.
“It was a learning experience for us against a great team,” said Beam. “I told the girls, lets just go out and play defense, hit the ball and play our game. I was proud of the way we approached the game tonight despite the score. They can just hit the ball, and they got ahold of everything tonight.
“We are just trying to take what we can from each game and get better,” continued Beam. “Tonight we cut down on our errors, which have killed us in recent games. Tonight it wasn’t that. They just hit the ball, and hit the ball, and hit the ball.”
Detweiler, Halstead, and both Ashleigh and Chelsi Rothacher knocked out three hits for Garaway, while Wengerd, Yoder, Megan Kandel, Gerber and Ashley Yoder all collected a hit for the Lady Hawks.