Delaware Hayes Roundup: ‘Excellent’ hitting drives hot start for Pacers softball team

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Freshman center fielder Addy Tope helped Delaware Hayes win nine of its first 11 games, hitting .488 with 20 hits and 16 RBI while scoring 13 runs.

The Delaware Hayes softball team has been delivering at the plate, sparking a hot start. 

The Pacers had 146 hits, 24 home runs, 135 runs and 126 RBI, helping them win nine of their first 11 games, including their first six OCC-Capital Division contests. They play a league game at Westerville North on April 26. 

“Our hitting has been excellent,” coach Mark Thomas said. “We’re scoring runs left and right and hitting the ball really well. We’re seeing the ball really well, so that’s been working out really well for us. Defensively, we’re not playing too bad. We’ve had a few more errors than what we like, but our offense is getting us out of some holes.” 

Myaih Cloud was fourth in batting average through 11 games, hitting .528 with 19 hits, 15 RBI and seven runs.

“We are hitting the ball well, in all aspects of our lineup,” she said. “We are getting ahead early and scoring every opportunity we are given.

“We feed off each other and if someone is struggling, someone else picks them up. We are very good at making sure everyone is staying positive and energetic the entire game.” 

Lauren Tompkins, a sophomore, was hitting a team-best .634 with 26 hits, 19 RBI and 18 runs while playing strong defense at third base, Thomas said. 

“(It’s her) first time playing third base at the hot corner and (she’s) playing very well,” he said. 

Thomas said Judaea Wilson has been among the Pacers’ best players, hitting .562 with 18 hits, 13 runs and 19 RBI. 

“She’s playing some great defense (at second base), talking (and) being a great communication leader,” Thomas said. “Offensively and defensively, she’s playing really well.” 

Olivia Nelson was hitting .531 with 17 hits, 19 runs and a team-leading seven home runs and 22 RBI. 

Addy Tope also has stood out, Thomas said, hitting .488 with 20 hits, 16 RBI and 13 runs while playing a strong center field. 

“She’s a very good freshman leadoff hitter for us,” Thomas said. “She’s doing a very nice job for a young player and is doing very well in center field. Center field is supposed to be the general of the outfield and she’s stepped up and is doing that role.” 

Maddie Kiss led the Pacers in the circle through 11 games, going 8-0 with a 3.33 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings. Hope Clark had a 1.78 ERA through 15 2/3 innings. 

While the hitting and pitching have been good, Thomas said the Pacers could be better if they smooth out some of their defensive kinks. 

“Our pitching is doing pretty (well). We’re hitting our spots, we’re trying to keep the ball low (and) we’re fielding some groundballs. In the outfield, we’re running down the pop flies,” Thomas said. (But) everybody’s still basically raw. ... Defensively, we’re still a work in progress, but we’ll get there.” 

Austin Dowell was hitting .300 and leading the Pacers with eight RBI through 10 games.

Baseball squad

‘still finding ourselves’

The baseball team is playing with energy, but its inability to excel in all three phases of the game is holding it back, according to coach Ryan Montgomery. 

Delaware was 2-8 heading into a game at North on April 22. 

“I want to see us play a more complete game in all three phases: pitching, hitting and fielding,” Montgomery said. “There’s been games where we’re pitching well but we’re not swinging it, and we lose by a couple. Or we’re hitting it but we’re booting the ball around a little bit. The big message I’ve had for our guys is to compete every game and be solid in all three phases.” 

But Montgomery said those losses haven’t come without opportunities. He said a common theme has been stranding runners on base. 

“In our last few games, we’ve left the bases loaded I believe four times. We’ve left runners in scoring position. So we’ve had opportunities,” he said. “We just have to jump on those opportunities and ... not allow the other team to get out of those situations, re-grab the momentum of the game and not fall into a lull.” 

Through 10 games, Devon Pounds was leading the Pacers with a .440 batting average. Bryden Decaminada followed at .318, while Austin Dowell was hitting .300 and leading the Pacers with eight RBI. 

“I think the team is making improvements every week,” Dowell said. “We have been working very hard in practice to improve our hitting approach. We also have been working on different game-like situations. We have been good defensively and we plan to keep improving as the season goes on.” 

Braden Krauss was leading the Pacers in ERA, at 3.93 over 10 2/3 innings in relief. Decaminada and Matt McGeath each had one win. 

“Most of these guys are nervous and just need experience playing varsity baseball,” catcher Nick Wildman said. “These tough games are a learning experience that everyone needs. However, the past week we have really improved on our hitting and body language. We hope to keep it up for the remainder of the season.”

Montgomery said he saw signs of progress in a 7-6 loss to North on April 19. 

“I think we’re still finding ourselves a little bit as a team, but I saw definite progress (April 19) and steps in the right direction,” he said. “It’s the best game we’ve hit the ball. We threw the ball pretty well. We’ve played pretty well defensively, so we’re getting closer each game and with each practice. 

“We have great practices, and I just want to see that translate into the games. I never fault our energy in games; I just want to see us compete nonstop. Every pitch, every out, just compete.” 

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve