ANSONIA — Eaton softball coach Maggie Neanen was glad to be back on the field for a regular season game after having last season canceled due to the coronavirus.
It took her team a few innings to get back into the feel of playing in a real game, but once the Eagles did they claimed a double-header sweep of host Ansonia, 8-4 and 17-11, on Saturday, March 27.
“Walking away with two wins on the day is exactly how we wanted to start off the season. So we will take it,” Neanen said. “I am very excited to get going with this season.”
After being no-hit for the first three innings of game one, the Eagles’ bats went to work. Eaton collected 10 hits over the final four innings en route to winning game one.
“We came out a little slow at the plate after having three really good scrimmages,” Neanen said. “I expected our bats to stay hot. We tip our hats to Ansonia’s pitcher; she was doing a good job keeping our hitters off balance for the first couple innings.”
After giving up single runs in the first three innings, Eaton began cutting into the Tigers lead in the fourth.
Eaton tallied a run in the fourth then took the lead for good when it scored five times in the fifth. The Eagles added two more in the sixth.
“We started to string some hits together and we were able to come back and take the lead and finish the game with a ‘W’,” Neanen said. “Defensively, we did not seem like we were locked in and focused. We still need to clean up our defense. We can’t afford to have errors in our league.”
Senior Erika Wilkinson picked up the win in the circle. She tossed a complete game, striking out seven.
“Erika Wilkinson did a very good job on the mound striking out seven and holding them to one earned run,” Neanen said.
Sophomore Olivia Baumann made the most of her first career game. She went 4-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored.
Junior Anna Kramer, making her first career varsity start, was 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
Wilkinson added a pair of hits and drove in two runs.
Eaton’s bats kept going in game two as they pounded out 25 hits, including 12 for extra-bases.
Junior Allison Mowen, who went 5-for-6 with four RBI, led off the game with a home run to right to center. The home run was the first of her career.
”Ali leading off the game with a home run is exactly what I thought [she could do]. She has such power in our lead off spot and I was very happy to see her get one out,” Neanen said.
Three batters later, Baumann launched her first career home run, a two-run shot to straight away center to make it a 4-0 game.
“That is how I expect us to start games with our powerful lineup,” Neanen said. “Overall, in game two our bats came alive and were explosive. We had 25 hits and that was fantastic to see.”
The Eagles had eight doubles, a triple and hit three home runs.
Eaton led 5-2 after one and was up 10-8 after three.
“We need to stop other teams from scoring so many runs on us as well. Credit to [Ansonia]. They had good hitters, but again, we can’t have errors or mental let downs in our league. We need to play clean.”
Wilkinson had another big game at the plate going 5-for-5 with a double and two RBI.
Buamann finished 3-for-6 with a double, triple, home run and drove in six runs.
Kramer was 3-for-5 with a double. Junior Macy Wright added three hits, including a double. Senior Braily Ward was 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles.
Senior Claire Sorrell hit her first career home run and sophomore Kendall Miller added a pair of hits, including a double.
Wilkinson picked up the win in relief. She pitched the final 5 innings, allowing five runs and striking out four. Mowen got the start and struck out three in 2 innings of work.
Neanen said she is looking forward to the return of seniors Alexis Miller and Carsyn Lammers to the lineup. Both were out with injuries. Both have been starters since their freshman season.
“We still have two of our starters out which hopefully [they] join us this week in time for league play,” she said.
Eaton (2-0) was scheduled to play at Franklin on Monday, March 29 and will host the Wildcats on Wednesday. On Thursday, the Eagles are scheduled to host Bellbrook. All three are league games and will begin at 5 p.m.
Eaton will close out the week hosting Arcanum for a double-header beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 or follow on Twitter @emowenjr