---- — By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT -- Warrior Run's offense has been in a bit of a slump recently, and coach Garth Watson was hoping it would soon end and the Defenders would get back on track.
So as he stood in the third base coach's box Tuesday, he had to be happy to see his girls hitting the ball all day long against South Williamsport.
"Couple of them could've stung a lot harder, but a hit's a hit and as long as it gets through we'll take it," Watson said. "The bats are coming alive and we're getting a little bit out of that slump and now's the time we really do have to lighten up."
The Defenders offense came alive for 17 hits as seven of Warrior Run's nine batters came through with at least one hit in a lopsided 12-0 win in just six innings at South Williamsport in a HAC-II game.
The Mounties (8-6, 5-6 HAC-II) were held to just one hit -- a Rachel Floyd bunt-single in the bottom of the sixth inning -- as the Defenders' Taylor Parker mowed down 14 batters. Two South Williamsport batters popped out to the infield, one flew out into center and one grounded out to second.
The one-hitter is Parker's fourth of the season.
"What they did put in play the girls were all over it and (Parker) threw a heck of a game," Watson said. "She's running on all cylinders."
Warrior Run (12-2, 9-2) scored at least one run in all six innings. The Defenders batted through the lineup in the top of the third inning.
Parker (4-for-4) started with a shallow single to center before Jackie Clemens (3-for-4) blasted a triple to the left-field fence to score Parker. Lynn Vermilya (3-for-4) hit an RBI-single two batters later before Gabby Shrawder (3-for-5) came through with two outs, hitting a hard run-scoring single past the shortstop into left.
The Defenders then added two more runs in the fourth thanks to consecutive singles from Parker and Clemens before Carra Rishel later reached safely on an error ad drove in a run.
"We hit the ball well from top to bottom," Watson said. "We've told our girls our goal is to play stellar defense and score one run every inning; seven runs with good defense is going to be tough to beat."
Parker struck out nine of the 11 batters she faced through the first three innings, walking one to start the second and third innings.
The Mounties didn't start putting the bat on the ball until the bottom of the fourth when the first two outs came via flies. By that time though, the Defenders were already out to an 8-0 lead and had all the momentum.
The Defenders put the 10-run mercy rule into effect in the sixth inning thanks to a five-hit rally. Katy Swartz and Vermilya started the inning with back-to-back singles before Rishel had a clutch double deep to left to drive in two runs. Cortney Stahl then lashed a single two batters later to bring Rishel home with the 12th run.
The Mounties committed seven errors in the loss.
For the Defenders, the hitting breakthrough is something they -- Parker in particular -- are relieved with.
"It's very frustrating when we don't hit, especially when I'm out on the mound because there's a lot of pressure when we don't have runs," Parker said. "There's no pressure on me when we're up by a lot or even a couple runs. Now it feels better than we can come out and hit together and get a lot of runs."