There wasn’t much Saginaw pitcher Mary Kate Lenth could do to contain the Guyer offense in Friday’s playoff opener, and it all started with two veterans in the middle of the Lady Wildcats’ order.
Seniors Kennedy Been and Megan Washam combined to drive in five runs as Guyer rolled to an 8-0 win in Game 1 of a best-of-three bi-district playoff series setting up Game 2 tonight at 7:30 in Saginaw.
“We talked about how we needed to attack pitches in the zone early,” Been said. “The first two strikes we got, we needed to swing at those instead of letting her throw her junk at us. Swinging at those first two helped a lot.”
Been’s RBI double that hit the base of the wall in left field got Guyer (23-5-1) on the board in the first inning and back-to-back RBI hits from the pair pushed Guyer’s lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the third inning capped by Been’s RBI triple that hit midway up the wall in right-center field.
Guyer head coach Keith Medford, whose senior class of five players were all freshmen when Guyer was a state semifinalist in 2010 and won their 100th game on Friday, said he did not envy the Saginaw pitcher.
“Megan and Kennedy, they threw them two different places in each of their at-bats — inside and outside — and they blasted it,” Medford said. “They commanded it on both sides of the plate, as hitters. It’s got to be frustrating for the pitcher who’s probably thinking ‘What the heck am I going to throw them?’”
Shayne Starkey, Kaitlyn Thomas and Suzette Palmer each added RBIs as Guyer’s top five hitters in the lineup drove in at least one run.
As well rounded a night as Guyer had at the plate, the Lady Wildcats were equally as good in the circle and in the field as Palmer allowed just three hits and Starkey pitched the final inning, striking out three after walking the leadoff hitter.
The defense behind Palmer was nearly flawless with the exception of one error as a result of a bad hop, but the Lady Wildcats chased down several fly balls and made some key throws to record infield outs.
“It would be easy to focus on what we did at the plate, but what stands out to me is how we played defense and pitched, which is what you have to have in the playoffs,” Medford said. “Sometimes you hit, sometimes you don’t, and tomorrow might be a 2-1 game, you never know. But I was very happy with how we handled their batters and made defensive plays.”
With the series lead, Guyer, the third seed from the loaded District 5-4A, can clinch the series and move on to the area round next week with a win tonight, but Medford said he knows it won’t come easy. If Saginaw (22-11) wins tonight, the teams would play a decisive Game 3 on Monday night at Guyer.
“It is big [to win Game 1], but this series is far from over,” Medford said. “We have to take care of business [tonight] or this win doesn’t mean anything.
“We were at home, we were expected to win, but [tonight] we’re at their place. We’re the underdog. They’re the No. 2 seed [out of District 6-4A], we’re going to have to come play.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.
GUYER 8, SAGINAW 0
WP — Suzette Palmer. LP — Mary Kate Lenth. 2B — G: Kennedy Been, Megan Washam. 3B — Kennedy Been. Records — Saginaw (22-11). Guyer (23-5-1).