Meeting for the third time this season, there was already too much knowledge exchanged between blossoming rivals Silverdale Academy and Red Bank.
Silverdale had won both of its previous meetings, but that was just one of man facts set aside on the eve of a fortnight of District softball. Fighting off one big Red Bank rally and butting heads with the umpires most of the afternoon, the Seahawks nonetheless headed for home with their 10th win of the season, 7-5.
Carrying the Seahawks on her young but sturdy shoulders, Silverdale freshman Elise Pearson had her biggest offensive day to date in her brief career, driving in six runs on a pair of home runs and a two-run single, her hits going to all parts of the field at White Oak Park.
She also pitched the first three innings, enduring a five-run third inning before turning the ball over to ace Michaela Harrison, who allowed only one hit over the final four innings to gain the win.
"We knew before the game we'd take her out for Harrison," said Silverdale coach Tim Couch, who fought just as hard as the rules allowed for his team much of the afternoon. "This was our third meeting, so they'd seen everything we've got, anyway, but Michaela offers a completely different look as a pitcher and she pitched a spectacular game."
Aside from a series of calls on the bases that went against Silverdale, the part of the afternoon that disturbed Couch the most was the third inning, in which Red Bank batted 10 players and scored five runs. But Silverdale held a 6-0 lead at the time, and added a seventh run on Pearson's second homer of the game in the visiting fifth.
"We tried to give it to them," Coach groused. "We made way too many errors. Now some of them were considered hits, but this was a sloppy game."
But beginning in the home third, it was an interesting one. Red Bank stranded a pair of runners in the second, but the third, Kenzie Cagle broke the ice with a one-out RBI double. Ally Walker followed with a two-run single. Silverdale got a second out but loaded the bases and Danielle Usher doubled home two runs. Suddenly in a one-run game, Pearson got out of the inning with a ground ball, then handed the ball to Harrison. The reliever struck out five, but a running catch by center fielder Sloan Woodard helped maintain the small edge.
"We're still very beat up right now, waiting for people to get well," Coach said. Foremost among them is his best player, Alison Meadows, who is still healing from a serious stab wound, but may get a green light to play in the tournament. Freshman Katelyn Couch (Tim's daughter) continues to work her way carefully from a recently diagnosed stress fracture in her back that limits her availability.
Leadoff hitter Sloan Woodard had three hits, one a double, with a stolen base for 10-3 Silverdale, begins a run of three straight district games today against Grace. Maddie Hancock had a double and two runs scored and Kirby Howard an RBI single. Elise Pearson, with her two home runs, trebled her season total Monday.
For Red Bank (6-8), Walker and Usher had two RBIs each. The Lady Lions' district game with Central has been moved up to Wednesday from Thursday due to weather concerns.
Silverdale 303 010 0 -- 7 11 2
Red Bank 005 000 0 -- 5 7 1
Pearson, Harrison (4) and Hacock; Akers and Simpson.