For coach Kevin Moody and his Hilliard Bradley High School softball team, slow and steady may win the race.

For coach Kevin Moody and his Hilliard Bradley High School softball team, slow and steady may win the race.

The first-year Jaguars had a sparse schedule early in the season so that Moody and his staff could ease the young team into its first season. They often headed to practice while other teams were playing games.

That extra practice and patience seems to have paid dividends, as the Jaguars lost just once in their first 12 games. They were 8-1 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing their first non-league game last friday.

"We only have a few girls who had any varsity experience, so we wanted to work hard with them during practices, then follow the league schedule and use the off days to correct things," Moody said. "That's why we didn't play a non-league game until last weekend."

The Jaguars were in the driver's seat in the league standings entering play this week. At 8-1, they had a one-game lead over Delaware and Mount Vernon. Bradley's lone loss was 2-0 to Mount Vernon on April 12. The Yellow Jackets lost to Delaware 6-5 in nine innings last Friday.

Bradley's league game against Big Walnut last Monday was postponed by bad weather and the teams were planning to reschedule last Tuesday. The Jaguars played last Wednesday at Mount Vernon and will play today at Delaware.

"This is definitely a big week for us," Moody said. "We haven't really talked about winning the league championship because I don't want the girls looking ahead. Our goal entering the season was to get better every day and as long as we strive for that, good things can happen."

The key ingredient in the Jaguars' success has been pitching. Through 13 games, junior Kellie Roudabush was 7-1 with four shutouts and a 1.25 ERA in 56 1/3 innings. She had 86 strikeouts with 11 walks and opponents were hitting .132 against her. Junior Tayler Young was 4-0 with one shutout and a 0.81 ERA in 26 1/3 innings. She had 23 strikeouts and eight walks and opponents were batting .125 against her.

"Both Kellie and Tayler have been throwing extremely well most of the season and even took it up a notch last week," Moody said. "The defense has really improved and is starting to jell. We're covering bases instead of standing around and we're getting outs on our second options. We're making things happen defensively and that's very exciting as a coach."

In the first meeting against Delaware, Roudabush threw a one-hitter and hit a solo home run as the Jaguars won 6-3 on April 14.

Bradley beat Willard 1-0 last Friday in the Stellar Classic at Ohio State, as Roudabush threw a one-hitter with 14 strikeouts. She also tripled and scored on the play when the shortstop made an error.

Last Saturday, Young pitched a one-hitter in a 15-0, five-inning win over Northmor in the first game of a three-team doubleheader at Utica. That same day, Roudabush limited Utica to three hits while striking out 10 in a 6-0 win.

Mikaela Smith had a key RBI hit against Utica to open the door. She drove in four runs against Northmor. Kelly Dalton had two hits and three RBI against Northmor. Jordan Camp and Colleen O'Shea each added two hits against Northmor.

Danielle Dunnagan had three hits against Utica and Camp had two.

"Everyone is starting to hit the ball and that's something we've been waiting on," Moody said. "We've got to hit throughout the lineup to be successful. We need to have everyone taking part.

"We're hitting better, moving the ball and running bases better. We need to do all those things. Now we've got to follow the plan of starting slow and finishing strong."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the Bradley softball team:

*April 14 - Defeated Delaware 6-3. Kellie Roudabush threw a one-hitter and hit a solo home run.

*April 19 - Def. Watkins Memorial 5-2

*April 20 - Def. Olentangy Orange 13-2 in makeup from April 16. Tayler Young allowed four hits.

*April 21 - Def. New Albany 8-6. The Jaguars scored three in the top of the seventh.

Last Friday - Def. Willard 1-0 in Stellar Classic at Ohio State.

Last Saturday - Def. Northmor 15-0 in five innings; Def. Utica 6-0.

*Last Tuesday - Played Big Walnut in makeup from last Monday

*Last Wednesday - Played Mount Vernon

*Today - At Delaware

Friday-Saturday - At LaGrange Keystone tournament

*Monday - Home vs. Olentangy Orange

Tuesday - At Strikeout for the Cure Tournament at Municipal Fields

*Wednesday - At Watkins Memorial

Of note: The Jaguars were 11-1 overall and 9-1 in the OCC-Capital before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Capital game