Lady Chucks commence season by routing Bradford, 12-0

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Senior Shawnna Crago needed just one game to step out as one of the Punxsy softball team's leaders Monday.

Crago, Punxsy's starting pitcher and one of the squad's four captains, hit a three-run home run and struck out seven over three perfect innings to lead the Lady Chucks to a 12-0 victory in five innings over Bradford.

Punxsy manager Alan Pifer wasn't sure how well his girls would hit Monday, since it was the first game of the season and temperatures dipped into the 30s. Pifer, however, wasn't surprised to see Crago send one over the fence in center field during the first inning.

"Not for as strong as Shawnna is. If she gets ahold of it, it has a chance to go out," Pifer said. "She definitely has the power. She's one of the strongest girls I've coached."

Crago wasn't the only Punxsy girl to have a strong game. The Lady Chucks totaled 10 hits, with nine girls tallying at least one hit. Senior Tia Davis finished with the team's only multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a two-out, three-run triple during the second inning.

Davis, who had the first half of last season cut short due to injury, stepped right into the lineup Monday and also made some impressive plays in the field as the team's starting shortstop.

"She's been hitting the ball well for us in the scrimmges and practice," Pifer said. "It's carried over."

Hannah Neal singled and scored twice, Taylor Powell hit a two-run double over the left fielder's head, Jenna Reitz scored twice and drove in a run with a single, and Crago led the team with four RBIs. She walked in a run in addition to hitting the three-run homer.

Megan Muth, Johnna Depp and Alex Magill singled and scored, and Tori Martin provided a pinch-hit double.

Punxsy scored three runs in the first inning, four in the second and five in the third to build a 12-0 lead through three innings. In the meantime, Bradford, which hadn't made it outside during the preseason to practice due to poor weather, couldn't hit the ball out of the infield off Crago during her three innings on the mound.

Punxsy lefty Randa Depp pitched the final two innings, allowing two singles and striking out two. Punxsy catcher Johnna Depp caught Meagan Hillard stealing to end the fourth inning, and Marissa Cobb grounded out to Davis to end the game.

All 17 of Punxsy's girls made it onto the field or received an at-bat.

Pifer expected a quality season-opening performance out of his girls, but they exceeded his expectations after one outing.

"We've been anxious to get the on the field when it counts," Pifer said. "We've been pretty focused and have worked hard on hitting. I think we have a pretty solid lineup."