Derby pitcher Kayla Oldham didn't have the kind of start she wanted in the softball regional championship on Monday night at Two Rivers Youth Club. Her second pitch had been hit to deep left field, and the third batter she faced, Hutchinson's Emily Yoder, hit a two-run home run over the right field wall.
"I knew (Yoder) was a good hitter," Derby catcher Austen Hilt said."... I just hoped she wouldn't do it again or it was going to be a long night."
Oldham settled down, though, holding Hutchinson to one hit over the next six innings as Derby won 10-2 to advance to the 6A tournament on March 27-28 at Arrocha Ball Park in Lawrence. Derby is 17-5.
"You know, I think the first innings were a little rough, pitching-wise," said Oldham, who struck out eight. "That girl hit a bomb. We didn't really hit the first innings, either, but we got our head on after that."
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Hutchinson coach Randy Carter, whose team upset Northwest (17-4), to advance to the regional final, had nothing but praise for Oldham.
"She's a great pitcher," said Carter, whose team finished the season 7-15. "I've said it all year long that she's probably one of the best pitchers we've faced all year long. We've faced everybody now, and by far, I thought she was the best."
Oldham got into a jam in the fourth when she hit Sarah Rothe and gave up a double to Haley McCue, but she struck out two and got another to pop out to third. She struck out two in each of the next two innings, too.
And Oldham had some help offensively.
With two outs in the third, Hilt hit a two-run homer _ her first _ over the left-field fence.
"Actually, I went up there thinking, 'if I get a base hit, then I know Kayla will get a home run. If I get on, get it on the ground, she'll hit it out,'" Hilt said. "And then I thought it was a pop up."
After stranding two runners in scoring position in the fourth, Derby took advantage of three Hutchinson errors in the fifth and took a 4-2 lead.
Derby broke it open in the sixth with seven hits.
"I think (pitcher) Brittany (Delaney) probably got a little tired toward the end," Carter said. "And then we had a couple errors."
Derby senior Avery Beard and Oldham each knocked in a run, and Tori Miller and Hilt had two RBIs. Hilt finished 2 for 4 with four RBIs. Oldham and Miller were 2 for 4, too.
"We finally hit the ball well," Derby coach Christy Weve said. "It took us a while to get going, but we hit it well. We played good defense this game. Kayla pitched well. All the way around, we played well."
Hutchinson 9, Northwest 8
Hutchinson011 700 0 — 9 11 5 Northwest002 005 1 — 8 7 4
W—Delaney. L—Henning. HR—Hutchinson: Yoder; Northwest: Henning.
Derby 15, South 0
Visitor000 0 — 0 4 2 Home532 5 — 15 12 0
Derby 10, Hutchinson 2
Hutchinson000 000 0 — 0 0 0 Derby000 000 0 — 0 0 0
W—Oldham. L—Delaney HR—Hutchinson: Yoder; Derby: Hilt.