PIKE CREEK – Polytech High School brought its 10-1 softball team and No. 3 state ranking to New Castle County on Wednesday afternoon, and the Panthers made sure the trip from Woodside was worth the time. Shaina Reed allowed just two hits and one unearned run in an 8-1 win over Padua at the Midway Sports Complex. For good measure, she also cleared the bases with a three-run double to help her own cause.
The Panthers steadily pulled away in this game, which was rescheduled from a cold April 22. After a scoreless first inning, they scored in each of the next five, racking up 11 hits and six walks along the way. The big inning was the fourth, and Reed was in the center of it.
With Polytech leading, 2-0, and one out, Taylor Pechin hit a ground-rule double. Amanda Waishes followed with a single to left, and Katie Stahre walked to load them up. Padua pitcher Olivia Ellis struck the next batter out looking and could see her way out of trouble, but Reed had other plans. She smacked one to the fence in left, scoring all three runners.
The Pandas managed a run in their half of the fourth with some two-out offense. Abby Cunningham thwarted Reed’s bid for a no-hitter when her sinking line drive to right glanced off the glove of the outfielder. She scored on a ground ball from Gabriela Frabizzio that skipped through the legs of the Polytech shortstop. The Panthers got that run back and one more in the fifth on back-to-back popups that found open spaces in the infield.
Polytech scored single runs in the second, third and sixth innings. The big blow was a line drive home run by Brandi Dalious in the third inning.
Padua could manage just one other hit off Reed, a bunt single by Anna Zebley in the fifth. Reed struck out 11 batters, as did Padua’s Ellis.
The 11-1 Panthers – whose only loss was to No. 1 Delmar – will begin a five-game homestand on Thursday, when Cape Henlopen visits for a 4:15 p.m. start. Fifth-ranked Caravel is on the schedule after that, at noon on Saturday. Padua (7-5) will be in Greenville this Saturday for a 9:30 a.m. matchup with A.I. duPont.