The Chargers rallied past Wharton, cruising to another win.
Strawberry Crest softball hosted Wharton on Tuesday night, coming away with an 8-2 victory, extending their winning streak to six games and moving to 11-3 on the season.
Junior pitcher Ariana Rego started the contest for the Chargers, as she has every single game this season, striking out two of the first three batters she faced in the first. And Crest wasted no time jumping out to an early lead in the bottom half of the frame. After a leadoff walk from junior Alexa Ringuette, she moved to second on a walk from freshman Kennedy Shea and was driven home for the first run of the game on a single up the middle from freshman Lola Coole. Senior Senior Lauren Ray added the Chargers’ second run with a sacrifice fly to left and an RBI single from junior Kylee Dodson gave Crest a 3-0 lead after one.
In the bottom of the third, Crest utilized having one of the deepest parks in the county as they added two more runs. After an inside-the-park home run from Shea put them up 4-0, Ray and junior Hannah Booth came up big with back-to-back triples to extend the lead to 5-0.
Rego’s lone blemish on the evening came in the top of the fourth. After runners moved into scoring position at second and third, a base hit up the middle scored two and cut the Wharton deficit to 5-2, but she would battle back and remain nearly flawless for the rest of the night.
In the fifth, senior Keelyn Johnson drove in two more runs with a bases loaded single and Crest would add one final run in the sixth to cap off the victory. The win moved them to 11-3 on the season and they remain undefeated in district play at 4-0.
Over their six-game win streak, Strawberry Crest’s bats have been on fire with an average of 13 runs scored per game while allowing just five total runs in that stretch. Crest’s offense now has four different players batting .500 or better on the season – led by Shea at .556, Coole at .526, Dodson at .525, and Booth at .500 – while four more players are hitting over .400. Crest hasn’t participated in any tournament play this year due to just one starting pitcher at their disposal and that’s resulted in a few less games played than many other teams in their division, but Shea is still tied for seventh in the state’s 6A division with 26 runs batted in and sits ninth in slugging percentage.
“I’m super happy with how they’ve been hitting the ball recently,” head coach Ashton Johnson said. “It started maybe a week and a half ago, they’ve just started really seeing the ball better and instead of one hit this inning and two hits that inning, they’re starting to string them together which is nice heading into the postseason. It’s kind of peaking at the right time.”
Rego transferred from Durant to Strawberry Crest this year and despite pitching just one inning with the Cougars as a sophomore last season, has completely transformed the Chargers’ team this year. Their lone pitcher this season – throwing every single inning over their 14 games – Rego has allowed just 48 hits and 21 earned runs while striking out 117 hitters over 80 innings pitched en route to a 1.84 earned run average.
“She actually came from a high school where she hardly got to play at all,” Johnson said. “So the fact that she’s come in here and pitched basically every game, every inning that we’ve asked her to and performed so well, it’s huge. If she hadn’t come here, we would have had a completely different season.”
Strawberry Crest will return to action on Friday as they head to Wiregrass Ranch before taking on Robinson and East Bay next week to wrap up their regular season play.