The CSAS Lady Patriots were ready to play softball when they hit the field at Silverdale Monday afternoon.
They came out swinging the bats. They took a 2-0 lead on the sixth pitch of the game and never looked back as they beat the host Lady Seahawks by a 7-3 final in a key contest with first place in District 5-A on the line.
With the win, the Lady Patriots are now 16-9-1 for the season and 5-1 in 5-A. Silverdale falls to 16-9 and 5-1.
CSAS catcher Kiara Suttles swatted a two-run homer to dead center on her first pitch from Lady Seahawk pitcher Emily Harkleroad.
The Lady Patriots added three more runs in the third on with Brittney Patman driving in the first with single, Mercedes Benn the second on a sacrifice and Gabbi Queener the third on a double off the fence in left.
CSAS pitcher Brianna Taylor was in control for much of the game and retired the first 12 Silverdale batters before Elise Pearson got the first hit on a liner off Taylor's leg in the fifth.
Taylor Moran followed with a single before Harkleroad reached on a perfect bunt to load the bases.
Maddi Hancock and Skylar Parton both got RBIs the easy way with bases-loaded walks while Allison Meadows drove in the third with a single to left.
Taylor then recorded one of her 10 strikeouts for the second out before getting the last one on a grounder to short as the Lady Seahawks left the bases loaded.
Harkleroad added another single with two outs in the sixth while Parton ripped a one-out double in the seventh, but neither scored as Taylor got key outs every time she needed one.
"We're playing our kind of ball, but we showed up and played today as we met the challenge," said CSAS coach Kaity Holloway.
"I could tell they were ready to play by the way they warmed up, but we just need to build off a win like this. We're headed in the right direction, but this win is big for more than one reason.
"We really haven't played up to our potential all season, but this is what I've been waiting for. We hit the ball solidly, we got some key bunts down and we had some clutch back-to-back hits. And I thought that Brianna pitched well today," Holloway added.
Silverdale coach Tim Couch felt like his team's lack of execution on defense was the difference in the game.
"That was ugly as we made too many errors. That was the difference in the game," Couch said afterward.
"Brianna pitched really well. She may be the best pitcher in the city, but we're just not mature enough to win games like this when we make that many mistakes. We knew early on that this would be a battle, but we've got to learn how to beat a team like this if we expect to get where we want to be.
"We're tied with them for first, but we just have to win our next two and get out of the funk we're in. But the key is that they made some great plays and we didn't," Couch nodded.
Taylor was the winning pitcher for CSAS after allowing three runs on six hits while giving up those two run-producing walks. She also finished with 10 strikeouts.
Harkleroad was the loser after giving up seven runs on a dozen hits. She also walked four while striking out six.
Taylor had a great day at the plate as well as she finished with four singles. Suttles had three as she added a double in the third and a single in the sixth. She also walked in the fourth.
Silverdale returns to action on Tuesday with a game at Boyd Buchanan while CSAS will play at Grace on Thursday.
ARTS & SCIENCES 203 002 0 -- 7 12 0
SILVERDALE 000 030 0 -- 3 6 3
Taylor and Suttles; Harkleroad and Hancock.
(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)