HORSHAM >> For as well as Hatboro-Horsham’s softball team had started the season, it was getting away with some subpar play in the field.
Monday, that caught up to the Hatters in a 16-12 loss at Quakertown. It was a setback, but it was also a good early season eye-opener for the Hatters. Even though they were ripping the cover off the ball at the plate, they had to step it up defensively if they were going to get where they wanted to.
Tuesday, they let off some stress and reminded themselves why they play. Wednesday, they got back to work.
The bats stayed hot, the pitching didn’t allow a hit and the defense did its job in a 15-0, four-inning win over visiting Plymouth Whitemarsh.
“Clearly hitting wasn’t our problem in the last game, scoring 12 runs and scoring 15 again here today, so we’re focusing on our defense and making sure we keep that consistent to back up our pitchers.”
Flagler, the Hatters’ senior first baseman and senior outfielder Brynn Griffith each drove in five runs for Hatboro-Horsham. Left fielder Kyleigh Dinnien went 4-for-4 and scored four times with a pair of RBI, Maddie Yeager belted a two-run home run as part of a 3-for-3 day and Rachel Carney scored three runs. As a team, the Hatters pounded out 17 hits.
Plymouth Whitemarsh won its game on Monday, an 11-4 victory over Cheltenham, but wasn’t able to carry that over to Wednesday. Much like Hatboro-Horsham’s defense cost it earlier in the week, the Colonials weren’t on the same page much on Wednesday.
“We had some communication issues that cost us,” PW coach Dana Moyer said. “We could have gotten out of some more innings.”
In the team’s first three games, the Hatters scored 32 runs but also gave up 31. With Tuesday’s game postponed due to field condition, the Hatters found a way to break things up. Flagler said the team took a step back and reflected on what it had been struggling with before they had a little fun.
“We played wiffle ball yesterday at practice just to remind ourselves that we play for fun,” Griffith said. “I think everyone was getting too stressed out in the field and too nervous. It really showed today that we fixed it and I was glad to see that.”
Flagler said she felt the fielders were just second-guessing themselves and not communicating enough defensively. They talked out every issue they felt was there on Tuesday and believe they have things worked out.
The Hatters mixed a couple things up, giving usual third baseman Mikayla Fedele the start in the circle. After she stranded a runner at second to end the first, the home bats went to work. Dinnien ripped a one-out double then came home on Griffith’s two-out single to put the hosts on the board.
Yeager followed that with an absolute shot over the right field fence for a 3-0 lead. Hitting has been a strength of the team to start the season and Flagler and Griffith said the batters build momentum off each other.
“We’ve been hitting like crazy,” Griffith said. “It’s great to be scoring around 12 runs a game, it’s crazy to see that, but we need it to be like that in the field too. I think people, after they’d make one error, got down on themselves. After yesterday, we saw it doesn’t matter and you have to keep moving.”
“Our confidence is really up there right now,” Flagler said. “The more confidence we have in each other and the rest of the lineup, the better we’re doing at the plate.”
Hatboro-Horsham blew the game open with a six-run second inning. Alicia Tauber and Alyssa Myers singled to start off, Rachel Carney drew a one-out walk to load the bags and Dinnien started off the scoring with an RBI single.
Flagler, who went 3-for-4, belted a two-run single and Griffith, who was 3-for-3, followed with a two-run triple before scoring on a called illegal pitch.
Griffith added a two-run single in the third, following an RBI single by Flagler to push the lead up to 9-0.
Fedele pitched a 1-2-3 third and reliever Grace Daniels retired the side in order in the fourth, keeping the PW bats quiet.
“We didn’t swing the bat like we’re used to,” Moyer said. “I’m a little disappointed by this loss.”
The Hatters are new to the SOL American and are eyeing a state playoff bid. They have nonleague games against most of their old Continental foes and while they’ve opened up great at the plate, they know they’ll have to play a complete game like they did Wednesday to get where they want to.
“I don’t think we have a weak spot in our lineup at this point,” Flagler said. “If we make an out, we know the person behind us is going to pick us up. That really helps our pitchers out because they know our offense is going to score runs to support them.”
Hatboro-Horsham 15, Plymouth Whitemarsh 0 (5)
PLYMOUTH WHITEMARSH 000 0 – 0 0 1
HATBORO-HORSHAM 363 3 – 15 17 1
WP: Mikayla Fedele. LP: Haley Fink. SO-BB: Fedele 0-0, Grace Daniels 1-0, Fink 0-2.
2B: Kyleigh Dinnien (HH), Kylie Flager (HH), Maddie Yeager (HH). 3B: Brynn Griffith (HH). HR: Yeager (HH).
RBI: Griffith (HH) 5, Flagler (HH) 5, Yeager (HH) 2, Dinnien (HH) 2. Multiple Hits: HH – Dinnien 4-4, Griffith 3-3, Flagler 3-4, Alicia Tauber 2-3.
Top Photo: Hatboro Horsham’s Rachel Carney pulls up at second base during the Hatters’ game against Plymouth Whitemarsh April 5, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)