After spring break, the Hanover Hawks softball team went back to work Tuesday night, knowing they had to go to Glen Allen to face a Jaguars squad that had already knocked off Atlee and came close to beating Lee-Davis.
How do you avoid being a victim? Come out swinging.
The Hawks freely and aggressively swung the bats against Glen Allen, scoring two runs in each of the first two innings, more than enough for pitching ace Kiandra Mitchum to do her work, a two-hit shutout with seven strikeouts, as Hanover improved to 6-0 with a 5-0 victory.
“We had nine hits to just one strikeout,” Hanover head coach Stephanie Acors noted. “Coming out of spring break, our focus was on hitting. It’s our goal to score first.”
The Hawks weren’t afraid to swing at the first pitch, and taking advantage of their visitor status, took the lead before the Jaguars could swing. Maura Long doubled to the right field corner to score Erin Watkins, courtesy running for Mitchum who walked to start the game. One out later, Kaylyn Shepherd singled to right to plate Long.
In the second, Mitchum laced a one-out single to left. Watkins ran again, reaching second when Long’s grounder to pitcher Briana Tarzia wasn’t fielded cleanly at second by shortstop Kiersten Richardson. The next batter, Haley Gilbert, roped a double to the same spot Long hit hers an inning earlier, with the same result, scoring Watkins. Long would score when Shepherd hit into a fielder’s choice.
Mitchum then set the tone for the rest of the night in the circle. After an infield single by Tarzia, Mitchum proceeded to strike out the side. The Jaguars never advanced a runner past second base. When it comes to her star hurler, Acors knows that, whether ahead or behind, she gets the same top-notch performance.
“It doesn’t matter to her; she is ice on the mound,” Acors said. “You can’t get into her head. She’s going to do her job no matter what’s going on.”
Long finished with two hits, an RBI and two runs scored. The Hawks defense was very solid, especially at first base where sophomore Kaylyn Shepherd made back-to-back impressive putouts on short pop-ups induced by Mitchum’s pitching in the sixth to end the final Jaguar threat.
The Hawks host new Conference 20 rival Midlothian Thursday, then Highland Springs Friday. They’re happy with their start, but try to keep everything in perspective, save one dream.
“We’re happy about a win, but then it’s on to the next opponent,” Mitchum said.
“I want a ring,” Long added with a smile.
Thanks to the Hawks’ hot start, there’s no reason not to dream big.