PIKE CREEK – Padua used some big bats and the right arm of Olivia Ellis to defeat Catholic Conference rival St. Mark’s, 10-0, in five innings Thursday afternoon at Midway Softball Complex.
Ellis scattered three singles, improving her and the team’s record to 4-2. Only one Spartans runner reached second base, on a pair of one-out singles in the top of the fourth inning, but the Pandas snuffed out that threat with a 6-3 double play.
Ellis, a senior, also produced at the plate. Her two-run double in the bottom of the fifth inning scored Padua’s final two runs, ending the game on a chilly, windy afternoon. But Ellis’ offensive exploits were only the icing on the Padua offensive attack.
Junior Kierstin Fallers drilled two triples into right field, driving in a run on each. She also scored twice, driven in each time by sophomore Abby Cunningham. The first came in the first inning, when the Pandas opened up a 3-0 lead, as a Cunningham grounder was misplayed for an error. Then, in the fourth, with Padua leading, 4-0, after Fallers’ second three-bagger, Cunningham lofted a deep fly to left-center field. It cleared the fence for a two-run home run.
Cunningham reached base three times, twice on errors, and scored on each occasion. Senior Camille Simendinger had two hits and would have scored twice, but the Pandas’ catcher was replaced by a courtesy runner, junior Anna Zebley, both times. Zebley scored two runs.
There was a scary moment for Padua in the top of the third inning. St. Mark’s freshman Grace Frati drilled a one-out single to right field and tried to stretch it into a double. Frati was thrown out sliding at second, but Pandas shortstop Alexis Brooks came up limping after applying the tag. Brooks was forced from the game and was taken from the field shortly thereafter.
Padua stays at Midway for its next game, which is Saturday at 11 a.m. vs. Milford. St. Mark’s dropped to 4-4 after its third consecutive loss. The Spartans will look to rebound at home vs. Delaware Military Academy, which visits Saturday at 3 p.m.