Pirates close out regular season today at Banks
The Pirates (20-2) also reached their 20th win of the season, but Dayton coach Rob Umbenhower said there’s no time to stop and celebrate the win.
“We didn’t score as many runs as we wanted to,” Umbenhower said. “It was a good game, but now it’s time to focus on Tuesday because that’s going to be a big game against a good team.”
The game Umbenhower is referring to is Dayton’s non-league tune-up game on the road today vs. 4A’s No. 1-ranked team, Banks. Umbenhower said the two teams scheduled this game long before the season because both teams knew the other would be a good team.
“I called (coach Jenny Compton) before the season to see if they were interested,” Umbenhower said. “It turned out they were interested, so we set it up. They have good pitching and offense, and I thought they would be a good challenge for us.”
First though, the Pirates had to get past a struggling Sheridan (7-15) team. In both games this season, the Spartans have played 3A’s No. 1-ranked team closely. In its last game April 16, Sheridan allowed six runs in its 6-0 loss.
For the second time this season, it was the slower-paced pitching of Spartans starter Skyler Graham that halted a double digit win for the Pirates. Regardless of fewer runs, the Pirates put the pressure on Sheridan early.
After a leadoff double from Sydney Van Noy, Dayton catcher Cooper Ringnalda lined an RBI triple to left-center field to put the Pirates immediately on the board 1-0. An RBI single from Dayton’s third hitter, Cassi Hill, made it 2-0 after one inning.
Hill admitted the offense wasn’t as sharp as the Pirates wanted it to be, but said it got the job done.
“We didn’t do very well,” Hill said. “We can play a lot better than that, and we’re going to have to step up.”
Dayton center fielder Teddi Hop made it 3-0 in the second inning after reaching base on an error, stealing second and reaching third on a pass ball. Hop scored on a wild pitch from Graham. Michaela Shouldis made it 4-0 in the third inning after a walk, two stolen bases and another wild pitch.
Dayton’s starter Jamie Chenea faced her first jam of the game in the bottom half of the third inning after giving up back-to-back singles to Johanna Nichols and Halie Yoder.
Chenea responded by getting two fly outs and a ground out to end the inning. Just as the offense was frustrated with their afternoon, Chenea wasn’t completely happy with her performance either.
“It wasn’t great, but it was good,” Chenea said. “I would’ve liked for us to get more runs, but it wasn’t bad. It could’ve been worse.”
Chenea’s final jam came in the fifth inning with two out. Back-to-back singles from Yoder and Graham put the pressure on, but Chenea got the next hitter, Baylee Harvel to ground out to end the inning.
Chenea gave up no runs on six hits, six strikeouts and no walks for the win. Chenea is now 10-0 on the season with an ERA of 0.23 with 87 strikeouts.
In the fourth inning, Van Noy led off with a single, stole second and was brought in by Hill’s second RBI hit of the day to make it 5-0. Hill reached third on a throwing error, and scored on an RBI single from Stephanie Jacks to make it 6-0. Shouldis followed Jacks with an RBI squeeze bunt for the final run.
“It was good,” Hill said. “I wish I could’ve hit better, but I got the job done. There was nothing that stuck out, I just wish I could’ve hit better for us.”
Dayton heads to Banks for a 5 p.m. game today for the clash of the No. 1’s. Dayton comes in to the highly-anticipated game winning its last eight games, while the Braves have won 20 straight games.
“The team we’re going to face is a good team,” Umbenhower said. “They have pitchers like Jamie that throw the ball hard. A win against them could really help our RPI. I want a good game, want to practice what we need to practice and not come out with injuries.”