HOLDEN – It’s not often Holden’s Olivia Lackie outshines herself in the circle.
The junior All-State pitcher was able to swing a dangerous bat as well.
Lackie was part of an offensive explosion that more than made up for an early one-run deficit, getting four hits and driving in five runs to lead two-time defending Class B state champion Holden to a 14-1 mercy-rule victory over No. 17 Monterey on Tuesday.
The top-seeded Lady Rockets (26-5) host No. 8 Stanley, 4-1 winners over Oak Hill, at 4:30 p.m. Friday in quarterfinal action.
“I’m definitely happier about my performance at the plate,” said Lackie, who allowed three hits and struck out six. “My performance in circle wasn’t my normal. I started off and it was a little shaky; it wasn’t my norm. But my defense was there to back me up and they only scored one run.”
Holden collected 18 hits, including five for extra bases – highlighted by home runs from Taylor Douglas and Emma Hutchinson – with every starter recording at least one hit against Monterey’s two pitchers Avery Cupit and Hannan Hitt.
Shortstop Olivia Barnes, who turned in a highlight-reel diving catch on a liner in the second inning, matched Lackie’s 4-for-4 performance and also scored four runs, while Douglas was 3-for-4 with a home run and double and five RBIs.
“We had some great at-bats,” Holden coach Linzey Bowers said. “One through nine competed and that feels good. Anytime you can put up 14 runs, it feels good.”
Monterey (8-12) struck first against Holden, putting together back-to-back singles against Lackie to begin the game – the second of which skimmed the top of the glove of a leading Emma Hutchinson at third base and went into left field.
Following the second out of the inning, Mady Green singled into right-center field, driving in Harlie Murray, who moved into scoring position by stealing second base.
“Their hitters came out swinging,” Bowers said. “They had some short swings, and against a good hitting team like, they’re going to be able go to make those adjustments. They kind of caught our defense sleeping a little bit. We answered back in the first inning and that’s all I can ask of our girls. If you get punched, you’ve got to punch back harder. That’s been one of the main focuses this season.”
Lackie ended the 24-pitch inning with a strikeout and didn’t look back, retiring Monterey in order in her next two innings of work. She struck out six before Douglas came into to pitch two innings of scoreless relief, getting three strikeouts along the way for nine strikeouts overall for the Lady Rockets' pitching staff.
“This game was good to prepare us for more teams to come,” Lackie said. “Everyone got work all around. We all got to make adjustments at the plate and focused on what we needed to work on. Taylor getting in to pitch in a playoff game was big for her, and I think she did really well.”
Holden tied the game at 1-1 on Lackie’s base hit to right-center field and took the lead for good when Gracie Duffy (2-4) perfectly timed a change-up, sending it to left field for a 2-1 lead before Cupit could record an out.
Douglas highlighted her team’s five-run first inning, hitting a towering 3-run homer on a 1-2 count over the fence in left field.
“The balls I fouled off felt good coming off the bat, so I figured if I just got the ball on the bat at the right time, it was going to be a good hit or over,” Douglas said. “I don’t expect to hit it over all the time, but I at least want to get a hit.”
The Lady Rockets batted around in the second, scoring five times on six hits, extending their lead to 10-1, before adding three more in the third and a single run in the fourth.
A two-run double from Lackie was the catalyst in the second inning, while Hutchinson’s homer to left-center field on a 1-2 count made it 9-1.
Lackie drove in Barnes, who led off the third with a triple, Douglas added a two-run double to left field in the inning, with Lackie capping her day at the plate with a run-scoring single in the fourth after narrowly missing a bid for a home run the pitch before that went foul in left field.
“It gives us a lot of momentum going forward,” Bowers said. “This team can do anything they put their mind to. I’m glad we came out and took care of business. That’s what you have to do. Everybody’s fighting for their season, everybody’s fighting for that (state championship) trophy at the end of the day.”
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