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Francis Howell pulls away late for season opening win at Francis Howell Central


Francis Howell’s Sofia Davis (center) gets mobbed by her teammates after cracking a three-run homer in the seventh inning of a GAC South Conference softball game on Thursday, August 24 at Francis Howell Central. [Jonathan Duncan/Mid-Rivers Newsmagazine photo]

They had to wait an extra three days to get the season started but in the end it was all worth it.

Francis Howell’s softball team had its first two games canceled earlier this week, but on Thursday, the Vikings got to hit the diamond for real. Suffice to say, they had some fun.

Howell scored a run in the fifth inning, a run in the sixth inning, and then exploded for six runs in the seventh inning. That offensive outburst combined with senior standout Whitney Boschert’s pitching was just the right mix as the Vikings cruised to an 8-2 road win at Francis Howell Central on Thursday afternoon.

Four innings went by before either team could push a run across.

Sophomore Katie Norton got the Vikings in front to stay with an RBI-single in the top of the fifth as Norton’s clutch hit got the Howell bats going.

“It was a really big hit to have because it was a really close game, so it like gave us a little room and a little jump to the game to get us started,” Norton said.

Howell (1-0, 1-0 in Gateway Athletic Conference South play), picked up another run in the sixth off Howell Central starter Madison Bixler.  Senior left fielder Marissa Guenther doubled to left with two out and came home on Nealy Edwards single to right for a 2-0 lead.

“Our game plan coming in was to kind of take those first couple of bats and be able to see pitches, don’t rush,” Francis Howell coach Jen Beckmann said. “We knew it was going to take a little bit with it being the first game and with Whitney pitching, we knew we could shut out teams and once we got one run, it just kind of snowballed.”

In the seventh, Howell broke through on Bixler with a big hit parade. Haley Akhiro led off with a single to left field and Emily Eberwine tripled to left, scoring Akhiro. Boschert lifted a sacrifice fly to center to bring Eberwine home. Catcher Olivia Hetzel singled and Lexi Wallner singled to bring home pinch runner Khia Williams making it 5-0. Wallner was picked off at third for the second out.

Guenther coaxed a walk and Logan Goulet reached on an infield hit, making it first and second.

Then sophomore Sofia Davis capped off the rally by ripping a three-run home run over the right field fence to make it 8-0.

“Sofia Davis actually just came up with us this week as a last minute decision and she just relaxed, finished her pitch and hit a beautiful home run and you couldn’t have time it any better,” Beckmann said.

Howell Central (3-3, 1-1) which beat Timberland 8-1 on Tuesday, finally managed to touch Boschert for a pair of runs in the seventh.

Junior infielder Claudia King smacked a solo homer with one out. Madison Godier singled to short center with two out. Bixler followed with a single to shallow left field and senior infielder/outfielder Avery Davis singled home Godier to cut the lead to 8-2.

Boschert beared down after that, inducing a Liz Harmon fly out to center to wrap it up for Howell.

Howell Central did not have a great day at the plate but the late rally was encouraging for the Spartans.

“Whiteny Boschert is a senior and obviously she threw extremely well, so we tip our hats to her,” Howell Central coach Zach Sheets said. “Yes, it was encouraging in the last couple innings we made some adjustments, got some runners on and got a couple of hits and we’re going to learn and grow and get better from here.”

Howell banged out 14 hits. Boschert threw seven innings, giving up just seven hits to get the complete game win.


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