Wapakoneta Redskins junior Shelby Davis (12), left, dives at second base to induce a forceout Wednesday in a non-league varsity softball game against the Lima Central Catholic Thunderbirds at Faurot Park in Lima. (Staff photo/Michelle Frank)
LIMA — A first-inning grand slam by Alexis Schwartz was enough cushion for the rest of the game, as the Wapakoneta Redskins senior blasted a pitch over the wall in right field to give her team a 4-0 lead with zero outs in the frame.
The four runs proved to be enough as the visiting Redskins posted a 5-3 win Wednesday over the Lima Central Catholic Thunderbirds in a non-league varsity softball game at Faurot Park in Lima.
Wapak senior Renee Lovett and sophomore Sierra Sammons opened the game with back-to-back singles, then freshman Blasia Moyler walked to load the bases, setting up Schwartz’s grand slam — her second home run of the young season.
“Alexis did her job,” Wapak varsity coach Bill Sammons said. “She saw a pitch and she hit it. Great job.”
LCC answered slightly with three runs in the first two innings but were shut down by the Redskins’ pitchers the rest of the game.
The T-Birds posted their first two runs also with zero outs in the first inning.
After a leadoff walk, Meredith Shepherd homered to left field, cutting Wapak’s lead in half to 4-2.
LCC scored its third and final run in the second inning with two doubles, cutting Wapak’s lead to 4-3.
Sammons, the Redskins starting pitcher, was relieved by freshman Megan Fisher after the third inning.
Fisher kept LCC scoreless in the final four innings and did not allow a hit.
Fisher retired eight straight hitters before allowing back-to-back walks in the sixth inning. She recovered to strike out the next hitter to end the threat.
The T-Birds went 1-2-3 in the seventh inning to seal the victory for Wapak.
The two innings in which Wapak scored Wednesday began with a single by Lovett.
In the fifth inning, Lovett scored on a fielder’s choice by senior Morgan Dirr to put Wapak up 5-3.
The Redskins’ defense helped the team’s two pitchers throughout Wednesday’s contest.
Junior shortstop Shelby Davis fielded two grounders and dove to second base to induce forceouts at the bag. She also caught a line drive and ran down a weak pop-up in short left field.
Fisher struck out four. Sammons allowed three earned runs, three extra-base hits and one walk, striking out three.
Lovett and Fisher each had two hits. Moyler reached base after all three of her plate appearances, with a walk, a hit-by-pitch and a single.
Wednesday was the first time in four games Lovett, a returning first-team all-league player, was not the starting pitcher for Wapak. Lovett is 3-0 so far this season.
“It was nice to see other girls besides Renee,” Sammons said. “It’s not about her; it’s about the team. Everybody knows that. It was nice to see we could actually get a win without our No. 1 pitcher.”
The coach intended to divide Wednesday’s innings between Sammons and Fisher.
“We needed to get other girls work,” Sammons said. “The future is at hand, too. We needed to get some varsity experience with Megan and Sierra. Both of them pitched very well and did a real nice job.”
The win Wednesday gave Wapak a 4-0 start to its season.
“The win is nice,” Sammons said. “It’s not about the win, it’s about getting better. Any non-league game we play, I want to get better.
“I hope every girl works on something to get better, because we have big games coming up.”
The Redskins will resume their season at 5 p.m. today with a Western Buckeye League matchup against the New Bremen Cardinals at Wapakoneta High School.
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