NORTH RIDGEVILLE – It took a while for Avon’s bats to wake up against North Olmsted at Victory Park April 24. Through three innings neither team cracked the scoreboard and it looked as though the first team to score would win.
That ultimately was the case as Avon (12-4, 10-2 Southwestern Conference) struck for four runs in the fourth innings and rode that lead to an 8-3 win. In the circle for the Eagles and getting the win, Kayla Dykin pitched a complete game, struck out 10 and walked five.
“(It’s) very good (getting a start like that) and she’s only a freshman,” Avon head coach Ken Matuszak said. “She did a really outstanding job. Our defense, I thought our defense did an awesome job.”
Taking the loss for North Olmsted (4-13, 2-12 SWC), Abby Rigda logged 3 ⅓ shutout innings to open the game before Avon broke the flood gates open. In her six innings of work, she struck out three, walked two, gave up 11 hits and only four of the eight runs she gave up were earned.
Defensive miscues were the ruin of North Olmsted in the fourth. After a quick first out, a single, a walk and a hit batter loaded the bases for Avon. Shortstop Taylor Graham then hit a ball up the middle that was bobbled by second baseman Rachel Adams. As it made its way into the outfield, centerfielder Alex Balson struggled picking the ball up, allowing all three runners to score.
Graham scored on the next pitch as it got past Gillian Gallagher behind the plate.
Avon’s offense was spread throughout the whole lineup as nine batters (eight starters) recorded hits. Casey Traine, and Mel McGregor were the two Eagles who tallied multiple hits.
“They scored four runs on one hit,” North Olmsted head coach Cassie Gaye said. “That’s kind of been the story for us all season. If we make those plays, it’s a much lower-scoring game. We have to start cleaning up the defense and finishing innings, not worrying about finishing games right now, we gotta worry about finishing innings and the little things.”
Avon’s offense didn’t stop there as the Eagles added on two more runs in both the fifth and sixth and opened up their lead to 8-0. In the circle, Dykin acknowledged how much easier it makes it for her when the offense is spotting her to a lead.
“It’s always nice pitching from ahead because you have more relief and the pressure isn’t on you. It’s nice that our offense started to explode and get all those runs in,” Dykin said. “It’s nice when I can feel comfortable throwing it over the plate and my defense behind me will always have my back.”
North Olmsted finally broke through against Dykin in the sixth. The Eagles sent all nine batters to the plate and scored all three of their runs with two outs. Shortstop Sydney Sukenik used one of her team-leading four hits to drive in two of the three.
“That’s our thing, it’s all about winning every inning,” Gaye said. “I called them in and I told them, I don’t care if you win the game, win this inning right now; put up some runs. ... Show the other team that you don’t sleep on North Olmsted’s bats.”
North Olmsted has four games in the next four days starting tonight against North Ridgeville, before playing Amherst, Rocky River and Valley Forge Thursday through Saturday. Avon is back in action tonight against Lakewood at home.
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