ST. ANN • The opening game of the 2012 Incarnate Word Slugfest softball tournament could not have gone much better for Francis Howell.
Howell blasted Hazelwood Central 10-0 in five innings at ABC Park, and Vikings pitcher Payton Wilson allowed just one hit to the Hawks.
“A win is a win, but it’s always good to keep our streak going,” Howell pinch hitter Angela Wilson said of the Vikings’ fifth win in succession. “It was a good game for us.”
Howell struck first with three third-inning runs.
Theresa DeCosty drove in the first run with a squeeze bunt. She was followed by a Morgan Brown RBI groundout and a Kendra Patton run-scoring single.
“We became more patient with our at-bats,” Howell coach Steve Moorman said. “We had better selection in our pitches to hit and it showed.”
After Howell bumped the lead to 4-0 on a Jessica Foran RBI groundout in the fourth inning, the offense really got after it in the fifth inning.
The Vikings (7-1, No. 3 in the STLhighschoolsports.com large-schools rankings) sent 11 hitters to the plate and scored six runs to bring about the game’s end via the 10-run mercy rule.
The biggest hit of the inning was a pinch-hit grand slam from Wilson.
She slammed the first pitch she saw from Central’s Andrea Robin over the right field wall to turn a six-run lead into 10.
“It was a strike right down the middle,” Wilson said. “It was a meatball. It was awesome. It felt really good to help the team, mostly.”
While Wilson did her damage with one swing, DeCosty did hers with a handful of swings and a bunt.
She was 3-for-3 with the RBI bunt and two runs scored.
“Moorman told me I just needed to work on my bunting, and I did before the game,” DeCosty said. “I thought I had a good game up there.”
Conversely of her teammates, there weren’t many hits when it came to the ledger of Peyton Wilson.
She allowed just one – on an Alexis McClendon third-inning smash off the third baseman’s glove into left field. A fifth-inning walk was the only other Hawks runner.
Wilson also struck out six Hazelwood Central hitters.
“I am happy with all my pitchers,” Moorman said. “Payton actually had a no-hitter earlier this year. She’s been doing really well from the get-go. She’s been impressive.”
For Central coach Amy Shelton, the first two innings where the game remained scoreless was something positive to take away from the loss for the Hawks (1-3).
She lauded starting pitcher Alexis McClendon for her effort and added Robin did well in relief.
“I am happy with that,” Shelton said. “The pitchers are taking the responsibility. They stepped up and they put this one on their backs. I was very proud of them today.”
In the Vikings' second game of the day, they defeated Northwest 7-3.