VAN WERT – The Parkway softball team has been playing well all season. They’re apparently even better when it’s warm outside. Playing in sunny, low-70’s weather Monday, the Panthers were almost flawless while crushing Van Wert 13-0 in a five-inning run-rule affair. Parkway (13-2) is ranked 1st (tied with Jeromesville Hillsdale) in the latest Division IV state-wide coaches poll. Van Wert is now 9-3.
“We played really well today,” said Parkway coach Mark Esselstein. “Offense, defense, pitching – it all came together today. When we play like that it’s gonna take a heckuva team to beat us. Hopefully, we just keep building on that.”
The game was in doubt only briefly. As usual, Parkway’s bats were hot from the beginning, scoring two in the top of the first on singles by pitcher Macy Henkle, third baseman Bailey Strickler, and first baseman Haley Hawk.
Van Wert threatened in the bottom half of the first when third baseman Laine Spoor led off by ripping a double to the gap in right center, and, after an out, pitcher Lauren Moore blooped an opposite-field single to right to put runners on the corners. However, Macy Henkle struck out the next two batters, and the Cougars never threatened again.
Parkway pounded out 13 hits and were aided by five Van Wert errors. Meanwhile, Henkle was superb and was helped out by several outstanding defensive plays. The most sensational play came from leftfielder Courtney Lies in the fourth inning when she sprinted into foul territory to catch a fly ball almost simultaneously with her crash into the sideline fence. She was not hurt on the play.
After the Cougars touched Henkle for two hits in the first inning, she cruised through the remaining four, giving up only one more hit. She ended up with two walks and six strikeouts, throwing 81 pitches, 50 of which were strikes.
“Macy did a great job, really got ahead on the count, especially early in the game,” said Esselstein. “She was quick today; warm weather helps.”
The Parkway offense was led by Strickler (4 for 4, two doubles, two runs, two RBI), Hawk (2 for 3, two runs, three RBI), second baseman Bailey Bates (2 for 4, one run, two RBI), and Henkle (2 for 3, one RBI).