Big bats, sturdy defense leads to Western Brown softball success in early season –
By Wade Linville –
The Western Brown Lady Broncos have gotten off to an excellent start in their quest to defend their Southern Buckeye Athletic/Academic Conference American Division crown, rising to 4-0 in league play with recent victories over the Batavia Lady Bulldogs and the New Richmond Lady Lions.
The Lady Broncos were on their home field for their April 6 league contest against Batavia, a quick bout that ended in a 19-0 Western Brown win by mercy rule after four-and-a-half innings.
Western Brown’s sophomore star pitcher, Sydni Barnes, has shown why she was named the SBAAC American Division Softball Player of the Year as a freshman last season, fanning down batter after batter in the April 6 shutout victory over Batavia.
Barnes finished with 12 strikeouts while giving up only two hits and walking none.
The Lady Broncos also brought some fierce bats to the April 6 bout.
Western Brown’s junior lead-off batter, Lexi Wallace, hammered out two doubles and a single to finish with three hits in four at-bats.
Barnes not only excelled in the pitcher’s circle, but she was among the Lady Broncos’ hitters with a home run and three doubles.
Western Brown junior Liz Hadley batted three-for-four against the Lady Bulldogs with three singles.
Lady Bronco freshman McKenna Conley swung for three hits in four at-bats with a home run, a double, and a single.
Western Brown junior Andrea Little hammered out a pair of singles to finish two-for-four batting.
Freshman Peyton Young contributed in the Lady Broncos’ win over Batavia, going three-for-three batting with two doubles and a single.
The Lady Broncos scored two runs in the first inning and racked up 10 runs in the bottom of the second inning to hold a comfortable 12-0 lead.
The Lady Broncos scored two more runs in the third inning to expand their lead to 14-0, and in their final bat in the bottom of the fourth inning they tacked on five more runs to take a 19 run advantage.
Barnes struck out three straight batters in the top of the fifth inning to cap off the Lady Bronco win.
“When we hit like that we’re hard to beat,” Western Brown head softball coach, Blaine Wallace, said of his Lady Broncos’ offensive performance in the April 6 win.
Defensively, Wallace said he’s confident that his Lady Broncos aren’t going to give up too many runs, but when the offense is also firing on all cylinders the Lady Broncos are as strong as any Division I team in the state.
In her first five games at the pitcher’s circle this season, Barnes had given up only six hits with no walks while facing some good hitting teams.
“That’s pretty impressive,” Blaine Wallace said of his sophomore pitcher’s start to the season.
The Lady Broncos suffered their first loss of the season by a score of 3-1 while facing tough competition at Lebanon on April 9, but they rebounded from the loss to dominate for a 10-0 win over Anderson on April 10 and a 14-0 league win over New Richmond on April 11.
The Lady Broncos held a 7-1 overall record on the season following their April 11 win over New Richmond. They were scheduled to host West Clermont on April 12, and on April 16 they are scheduled to be back in action on their home field while hosting Clinton-Massie for an SBAAC American Division contest.