It was a cold, sunny day Monday as the Fairfield Lady Lions opened the 2022 softball season in a big way with a 16-0 victory over the East Clinton Lady Astros.
The young FHS Lady Lions were red hot in all aspects of the game. Caitlyn Quickle allowed just three hits while striking out nine Lady Astro batters with the defense playing errorless softball.
The Lady Lion offense was equally impressive pounding out 14 hits including five for extra bases. Quickle led the offense with three hits, three runs, and three RBIs including a double and a line drive home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Jobey Hattan, Emmi Vance, Hannah Hamilton and Sydney Hooper each two hits for the Lady Lions.
After sophomore pitcher Quickle set down the Lady Astros in order in the top of the first inning, the Fairfield Lady Lions wasted no time denting the scoreboard, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Senior second baseman Halle Hamilton manufactured the first run. She used her speed to force the Lady Astro defense into a throwing error that landed Halle Hamilton on second base. Then Halle Hamilton promptly stole third base and scored when the catcher’s throw sailed into left field. Quickle laced a double to right center field and Gwen Cox came off the bench as a courtesy runner for Quickle. Cox advanced to third base on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly to right field.
The Lady Lions added to the lead with two runs in the bottom of the second inning. With two outs and no one on base, freshman third baseman Hannah Hamilton was safe on an error. She advanced to second base and third base on wild pitches and scored on an infield hit by sophomore right fielder Hooper. Hooper later scored on a wild pitch to make the score 4-0.
The Lady Astros got their first hit on a blooper down the right field line by Cheyenne Reed in the top of the third inning. But Quickle struck out the next batter to end the inning.
The Fairfield Lady Lions scored four more runs in the bottom of the third inning on singles by Hattan, Quickle, Vance and Hannah Hamilton, and a sacrifice bunt by Faith Miller.
Fairfield erupted for eight runs on eight hits in the bottom of the fourth inning. Hooper led off the inning with an infield single, Hattan had an infield single, and Quickle then stepped to the plate and blasted line drive over the center field fence for a three-run home run. Vance doubled, Kaitlyn Chambliss was safe on an error, Sydney Sanders doubled to drive in Chambliss, Miller double to the gap in left center field to knock in two runs, Hannah Hamilton singled to right field, and Halle Hamilton tripled down the right field line to score Miller and Hannah Hamilton.
Quickle and the Lady Lion defense shut the door on the Lady Astros in the top of the fifth inning with a strikeout, a single to left center field, and strikeout looking, and a ground out to end the game.
Leading hitters for the Lady Lions: Quickle (3 for 3, 3runs, 3 RBI, double and home run), Jobey Hattan (2 for 4, 2 runs, 1 RBI), Emmi Vance (2 for 2, 2 runs, 2 RBI, sac fly and double), Hannah Hamilton (2 for 3, 2 runs), Sydney Hooper (2 for 3, 2 runs, 1 RBI), Halle Hamilton (1 for 4, 1 run, 2 RBI, triple), Sydney Sanders (1 for 3, 1 run, 2 RBI, double), and Faith Miller (1 for 2, 1 run, 3 RBI, sac bunt, double).
Quickle (1-0) was the winning pitcher for Fairfield. In five innings, she gave up three hits, no runs, no earned runs, one walk, and struck out nine.
Chloe Scott (0-1) suffered the loss for East Clinton. In four innings, she gave up nine earned runs on 14 hits, no walks, and five strikeouts.
Fairfield will embark on a five-game, four-city road trip as they travel to North Adams High School to play the Lady Devils on Tuesday. Game time is slated for 5 p.m.
Submitted by Tom Purtell, Fairfield softball.