PIKE CREEK — Patience paid off for the Padua softball team on May 23. The Pandas and Caesar Rodney were scoreless heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, but Padua finally broke through and put four runs on the board on their way to a 4-0 victory at Midway Softball Complex in the first round of the DIAA softball tournament.
Pitchers Montana Fox of CR and Lauren Schurman of Padua put zeroes on the board through four innings. The Riders’ biggest threat came in the third, when Vanessa Gaines and Kaitlyn Horton hit back-to-back singles with one out. Schurman got a strikeout before Sydney Hatch flied out to the Pandas’ Alexandra Dawson in center to end the frame.
Fox, a freshman, did not overpower the Pandas’ bats, but with the help of some good defense, she kept the game scoreless. Shortstop Hatch made a running catch in foul territory in the first. Third baseman Ashlyn Schmidt made a few nice stops at the hot corner. Fox escaped trouble after two errors gave the Pandas a chance in the third. But the biggest defensive stop came in the fourth. Schurman led off the inning with a single, and with one out, Bridget Casey walked. Lillianna DiMarco then sent a line drive toward second, but CR second baseman Chloe Donigan reached up to make the stab, then tossed to second for a double play.
Schurman struck out the side in the fifth, and the Pandas’ got their offense going in their half. Sophia Ceccola singled with one out, and she scored when Siena Evans drove a triple to the fence in right-center. A hit batter put runners at the corners, and Cate Schrader hit into a fielder’s choice that scored Evans. Schurman was next up, and she doubled the Padua lead when she smoked a pitch well over the center field fence.
Schurman earned the win, scattering four hits with 14 strikeouts. She and Evans each had two hits. The Pandas (11-7) travel to No. 2 Delmarva Christian on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Horton and Gaines each had two hits for the Riders, who finished the season 9-10.
All photos by Mike Lang.