Kettle Run blanks Stonewall Jackson 9-0 in softball
© Virginia News GroupThe whole Group AAA versus AA thing really doesn't really mean much when your AA squad has a knockout pitcher who not only hurls a shutout but scores three runs herself.
Kettle Run (3-1 overall) rode a 10-strikeout performance by pitcher Kaitlin Munda to a 9 to 0 softball victory against visiting Stonewall Jackson (3-1) on Friday evening in Nokesville.
It marked the junior hurler's first shutout of the season as she worked with battery mate Shelby Stegmaier through all seven innings, walking no one and giving up eight hits.
During a post-game interview, they explained that her her change up and rise ball worked particularly well along with some other movement pitches.
"We pitched a lot of screws," said Stegmaier.
At the plate, Munda helped herself out by with a 3-for-3 showing, driving in a run and earning a walk too against Stonewall pitcher Jade Miller, who also pitched a complete game.
"I was looking for inside" pitches, said Munda, adding that, instead, "I kind of got down-the-middle."
Her run production matched that of third baseman Debbie Stuart.
The freshman also scored three times and drove in a run as part of her 3-for-4 performance in the batters box that included a triple.
It turned out to be the Cougars' only extra-base hit of the game.
One Stonewall player collected three hits: second baseman Megan Letos, who went 3-for-4.
Kelsey Straub and Suzanne Jacques both collected a pair of hits for the Raiders while Brittany Campbell and Briana Samuel each smacked a single.
What the stats don't show is that Stonewall actually threatened Kettle Run with runners on second and third three times on the night.
In fact, during each of the first two innings, Stonewall put runners in scoring position with no outs, forcing Munda to work herself out of a pair of self-inflicted jams.
"I was thinking, 'I'm getting them out. I don't want any runs scored at all,'" said Munda.
According to Stegmaier, who drive in two runs herself, she feeds on that sort of attitude by delivering blunt honesty about her pitching performance when they meet in the circle.
"I don't have to sugar-coat it," said the catcher.
"She tells me the truth," added Munda. "I definitely listen to her. She's pretty scary."
That she did, most impressively by mowing down three Raiders in succession with strikeouts in the bottom of the second inning.
After leaving four runners on base in the first two innings, Stonewall's momentum clearly sapped by the third inning as the team went three up, three down.
Kettle Run capitalized by scoring five runs over the first three innings, which helped Muna out on the rubber.
"I was pitching my spots, it was just they kept hitting up the middle over and over again," said Miller.
Lead off batter Michelle Farmer, a senior centerfield, scored in the first and third innings and even stole a base while sophomore second baseman Forrest Poland collected two RBIs.
"I was more relaxed," said Munda about how the team's "safety runs" affected her pitching.
It took until late in the game but Stonewall did at least flash a little leather, particularly from the shortstop Campbell in the bottom of the sixth.
She headed toward third base on a hot-shot grounder, stabbed the ball backhanded, planted her feet and heaved her throw across the diamond to Straub at first base, earning the out by a step.
On the next play, she knocked down another bullet and pegged out the runner at first again.
"Brittany's always been good at defense. She's been around softball for a long time," said Miller.
"She's got an amazing glove," added Stonewall head coach Megan Ponte.
However, Kettle Run scored on an error at third the next play, cementing the 9 to 0 final.
It's that play and two other runs that scored unearned Ponte considered learning moments from the game.
"We need to clean up our defense (and) not allow for extra outs," said the coach.