Garaway had its fifth game of the week on Friday evening at Conotton Valley and made the most of the end of a busy week by cashing in big time at the plate.
The Pirates came into the game having dropped two in a row with a pair of last-inning losses to Claymont and Indian Valley. With stormy weather looming on the horizon, it looked like Mother Nature was going to be the only winner for the evening.
As the wind picked up and the sky darkened, the game got under way, and Garaway wasted no time jumping out to a 3-0 lead. Kallie Regula started the Pirates’ rally with a one-out single. Maddie Steiner beat out a bunt to put runners on first and second. Cassy Donaldson was up next and had an epic battle with Conotton’s pitcher Madison Jones.
Donaldson fouled off seven pitches to the left side of the field before ripping a triple down the left field line. Chelsi Rothacher lined a single to bring in Donaldson, giving Garaway a 3-0 lead.
Conotton’s Tabby Stuber led off the bottom half of the first with a single. Stuber moved over to second on a ground out. With two outs Bri Jones reached on a fielding error at short, which allowed Stuber to score.
From that point on it appeared the game would not continue. The sound of thunder erupted close by, and teams were sent to their dugouts on both the softball and baseball fields. Soon after the initial thunder, the skies opened with a steady rain. After a 75-minute wait and a bit of field dry in key spots, the game continued, and it was not thunder but Garaway’s bats that did the talking.
Zoe Johnson doubled with one out in the second. Kallie Regula tripled to drive in Johnson but was picked off at third base a couple pitches later by catcher Bri Jones. Steiner singled and then went the same route as Regula when she was picked off at first base. The inning ended with Garaway up 4-1.
The Rockets hit a pair of singles in the second inning but were unable to get any runs across the plate. Once the Pirates came back to the plate in the top of the third, the game turned into a blowout.
The Pirates scored 20 runs over the next three innings while setting a new school record for most hits in a game with 26. The total was one more hit than the 25 in a win over Hiland last season. Thirteen different players registered at least one hit in the game for the Lady P’s.
The biggest bat of the day belonged to Donaldson, who nearly hit for the cycle with a single, triple and two home runs. She also racked up a number of RBI one shy of a school record. It was thought after the game that Donaldson had tied the record; however, an extra RBI was inadvertently added to her total.
Garaway scored nine runs in the third inning to take a 13-1 lead. Some of the key hits in the inning were a two-run double by Steiner, a triple and single with three RBI by Rothacher, and a triple and single in the inning for two RBI by Janell Mast.
Contton Valley added a run to their total in the bottom of the third when Genna Harlow tripled and scored on a double by Madison Jones.
Garaway added six more runs in the fourth, half of those coming off a homer by Donaldson, whose drive barely made it over the deep 220-foot fence in left-center field. The ball hit the top of the fence and then bounced over for a three-run shot. Kallie Regula and Jenna Shoup also had RBI singles while Karmella Stein drove in a run on a ground out.
The Pirates finished up their scoring with five more in the fifth. Once again, the big blow came from Donaldson, who capped off her career night with a two-run no-doubter over the left-field fence, her fourth home run of the season. Karmella Stein added a two-RBI single, and Maddie Steiner also singled in a run. Paige Bebout, Tori Miller and Rylee Wilhelm all contributed to the inning by registering their first varsity hits.
The Pirates are now 12-7 and are heading in to the final week of regular-season games. It will be senior night for Maddie Steiner and Kassidy Reidenbach. On Wednesday the Pirates open postseason play at home with a sectional final game against Morgan. Garaway ends the regular season on Thursday when they travel to Buckeye Trail in what could prove to be a preview of a district semi-final matchup if both teams win on Wednesday.