When your pitcher doesn't allow a hit until the fourth inning and your offense begins the game with four runs, your chances of winning the game are good.
That turned out to be definitely true for the Thunder in a Lawrence Girls Fast Pitch Assn. 10-U game against the Junior Yankees on June 14 at Lawrence High.
The Thunder won the game, 12-1, behind a strong pitching effort from Remington Samuels, who gave up just three runs and two hits while striking out four batters in a complete game. She also added three RBIs and received the game ball after the win.
"We got our best pitching of the season for Samuels," Thunder head coach Bret Morris said. "She was awesome, and whenever you get good pitching in softball it makes the game a whole lot easier."
Kaitlin Dunbar began the game with a base hit and two stolen bases for the Thunder. Junior Yankees pitcher Sarah Brown struggled on the mound as Samuels made a two-run hit to center field. Four batters came home before Jamie Maddox's pop fly ended the inning.
The Junior Yankees went down in order in the bottom of the first, thanks to Samuels, who struck out two batters and got the third out by catching a pop fly.
The Thunder padded its lead in the second, thanks to a lead-off single and then an RBI from Dunbar. Madeline Dieker followed Dunbar by driving in another run. The Thunder was not done yet as Samuels drove in her third RBI of the game with a single to right-center field.
In the bottom of the inning, the Junior Yankees tried to dig out of a 9-0 hole, but Samuels continued her no-hitter with two groundouts and another pop out.
Olivia Lancy continued the Thunder's offensive production in the third inning with a lead-off single down the third-base line. Maddox drove Lancy home two batters later, and the inning ended with the Thunder ahead 11-0.
Samuels continued her no-hitter in the bottom half of the inning by striking out two batters and forcing the third out with a pop fly to third base.
Anna Brown took over pitching duties for the Junior Yankees in the fourth, striking out the first two batters. Dieker then got her second RBI of the game on a single that squeaked past shortstop Evan Dye for a single, the Thunder's only run of the inning.
The Junior Yankees faced their last chance to mount a comeback with the bottom of their lineup due up in the bottom of the inning. Kaley Delg reached base and was able to reach third on steals. The next batter, Amanda Schaller, drove Delg home, but Samuels got the next three batters to end the inning and the game.
"We were down several runs and came back at the end of the game," Junior Yankees head coach Anthony Brown said. "The girls stuck in there and still played hard when we were down, and that is the most important part."
After the game Morris said he was pleased with the way his girls played.
"They were down and ready on every pitch, and I think it showed in their concentration," Morris said.
Before the Junior Yankees' next game Brown said his team needed to work on some fundamentals and spotting the strike zone because they did not do those things well this game.
For the Thunder, Morris said they needed continued good pitching and offensive output from their team to carry their momentum into the next game.