Madison Aughinbaugh is, admittedly, a little tired. She should be. The St. Mary’s Ryken sophomore pitcher started five games in the past six days. That comes after the Knights played eight games over a spring break tournament two weeks ago, and just before the conference playoffs begin Friday.
But after leading the No. 8 Knights to a 9-0 win Tuesday at No. 5 Paul VI , there was little time or reason for Aughinbaugh to be anything but energized.
“We’re fighting. The only thing in my mind is I want to win,” she said. “We haven’t shown our best to top quality teams yet, and when we do, we really surprise them.”
The first six innings went as expected for a matchup of teams fighting for the WCAC title. St. Mary’s Ryken (20-4, 12-3) scored first in the top of the second on a single from Gabrielle Thompson that scored Emma Thompson (with the help of an overthrow).
In the sixth, Tori Hughes sprinted home from third on a double from Lindsey Kellar, scoring just as the ball smacked her in the side of her helmet and left her lying on the plate in pain. The injury to Hughes was the catalyst for a six-run inning.
“As soon as Tori got hurt, we knew we needed to keep that going, the hits that had started,” Heinze said. “We kept saying, ‘We got to keep it going, keep the base hits coming.’ ”
Once the Knights start hitting, “they keep coming on strong,” Aughinbaugh added. “We get hot on the same inning. Hitting is contagious.”
The loss dropped the Panthers to 20-2, 12-2.
Heinze had three singles and an RBI and junior Savannah Miller had three singles. Aughinbaugh struck out seven. Panthers pitcher Abby Thibodeau struck out six.
“We haven’t played our best against top quality teams yet,” Aughinbaugh said. “This just boosts our confidence and shows that we are one of those top teams.”