BY AARON SNYDER
THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
FLATWOODS Dave Wheeler waved his right arm from the third-base coaching box more than half as much as Haven Layne rotated her’s in the pitching circle.
Russell scored 17 times, Layne threw 32 pitches and the Lady Devils made quick work of Wayne (West Virginia) on Monday night. Russell recorded a 17-0 three-inning mercy-rule victory in 56 minutes at home.
“Any time you come out in the first inning and you hit the ball well, it takes pressure off your pitcher and puts pressure on their hitters and their defense,” said Wheeler, Russell’s third-year coach. “From top to bottom, we barrelled a lot of balls.”
Every Lady Devil in the starting lineup reached base and scored at least once. Russell plated nine on six hits in the first frame.
Sara Hieneman slammed a double to deep center to spark a prosperous first. Hieneman, Makayla Fraley, Alexis Maynard and Ali Hartman strung together four straight hits in the opening inning. Hartman drove in a pair on a line-drive single up the middle as she advanced to second on the throw home. She was 1 for 1 with two walks.
Maynard joined Hartman in enjoying a perfect plate effort.
She was 3 for 3 with two RBIs and a stolen base. Layne went 1 for 1 with a walk and a hit-bypitch. Camryn Ratliff reached in both of her plate appearances on long-at-bat free passes. Leadoff hitter Grace Osborn went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and three runs. Annalee Miller was 1 for 2 with three RBIs.
Russell split with Wayne last season. Lady Pioneers pitcher Whitney Sansom also faced the Lady Devils in those two meetings. Monday was Wayne’s first game of 2017.
“Wayne’s got a good program,” Wheeler said of a 2016 Class AA sectional champion.
“(Coach Tish Damron) has been there a long time. Any time you open up (the season), sometimes things might go well, sometimes they don’t.
They’ll be real successful in AA, they always are.”
Layne faced nine Lady Pioneers. She retired all of them over three perfect innings. The sophomore tallied two strikeouts.
“When you throw 32 pitches, that’s a bullpen session, so there were a couple pitches we didn’t even throw,” Wheeler said. “It was mainly fastball, change and curves. She’s got good command. She puts a lot of time in and works really hard. She wants to be good.”
Russell (3-0) has racked up 50 runs in three mercy-rule contests. The Lady Devils have given up just three runs over 11 innings.
“I couldn’t be more pleased to be playing in March and getting 15 runs a game,” Wheeler said. “We’ve done a lot of T Haven Layne delivers one of her 32 pitches on Monday.
work, talked about getting ourselves in hitting situations.”
Russell hosts Bath County tonight at 6.
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