May 8, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Oak Hill keeps rolling, tops Hall-Dale

By Bill Stewart
Staff Writer

FARMIINGDALE — Oak Hill senior pitcher Kortni Michaud went to her fastball early and often Wednesday afternoon in a Mountain Valley Conference game against Hall-Dale.

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LOOK OUT: Oak Hill High School’s Brooke LeBel, right, and Sadie Goulet collide while chasing a foul ball at home plate during the Raiders’ 3-1 win over Hall-Dale on Wednesday in Farmingdale.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

“It was working,” Michaud said. “I was struggling with some others a little bit so I threw mainly fastballs.”

It’s all she needed Wednesday as the Raiders kept rolling with a gritty 3-2 victory over the Bulldogs. Oak Hill (6-2) won its sixth straight game after starting 0-2.

“It’s coming together,” Oak Hill coach Allyson Collins said. “We will take it. We knew how tough Hall-Dale would be. We knew coming in it would be a battle.”

It certainly was.

The Raiders fell behind 1-0 before scoring all three of their runs in the fourth inning. They sent nine batters to the plate, with five reaching base on a single.

Michaud hit a one-out single and advanced to second on one of Hall-Dale’s three errors. Catcher Brooke LeBel then tied the game when she ripped a single up the middle. After another error, No. 7 hitter Kayla Veilleux drove in a run with an infield single. No. 9 hitter Brianna Hodgkins, a senior, then followed with an RBI single to make it 3-1.

The bottom third of Oak Hill’s lineup went a combined 5 for 9 with two RBIs.

“Our hitting was phenomenal,” Michaud said. “The Hall-Dale pitcher (Olivia Maynard) is one of the fastest we’ve seen this year so to get the hits we did was phenomenal.”

Added Veilleux, who went 2 for 3: “It was nice to push through and get some of those runs.”

Collins said the team’s strength is a relentless batting order, and it paid off again in the decisive fourth inning.

“We’re pretty strong one through nine,” she said. “I’m confident that whoever is up can get the big hit for us.”

The three-run inning was just enough for Michaud, who struck out five, allowed three hits and walked three. She also wiggled out of a few jams, thanks to a strong defense behind her.

Michaud got two quick groundouts to strand a runner at third base in the first inning. She then had a runner on second with no outs in the sixth, but escaped trouble with a strikeout, flyout and groundout.

“I just tried to take a deep breath with every pitch,” she said. “I tried to block out what everyone was saying around me and just pitch.”

Added Hall-Dale coach Christen Lachapelle: “It was a consistent strike zone and you have to give credit to (Michaud). She made some pitches, but our hitters weren’t disciplined enough to lay off the changeups at times.”

Hall-Dale (4-4) jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Laura Allen walked to lead off the bottom of the third and later came home on an error. The Bulldogs pulled within 3-2 with a run in the sixth. It put the potential game-tying run on second in the seventh, but Michaud got leadoff hitter Eva Shepherd to pop out to end the game.

“Kortni kept their hitters off balance and we made some plays behind her,” Collins said. “We hit the ball well, too. We made a few mistakes but otherwise we played a pretty good game.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

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