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Early hitting onslaught propels Francis Howell North over Lafayette

Francis Howell North senior second baseman Emily Fetsch slaps a single up the middle during a nonconference softball game on Wednesday Sept. 6, at Francis Howell North High School. [Jonathan Duncan/Mid Rivers Newsmagazine photo]

Francis Howell North has been inconsistent with its hitting so far this softball season with ups and downs at the plate.

On Tuesday, the Knights bats rattled for nine runs in the first two innings, and then erupted for eight runs in the third, racing to a 17-2 mercy rule victory over Lafayette on Tuesday at Francis Howell North.

Howell North (5-5) had seven hitters with two hits or more as the Knights banged out 17 hits against Lafayette pitching.

“It’s very difficult to see slower pitching,” Knights coach Bobby Dunuhue said. “It usually causes a lot of good teams problems but the girls really grinded out the bats today and put some real good swings on some pitches that were away and it paid dividends for us. They had fun.”

The biggest benefactor of the Knights more patient plate approach was junior third baseman Macy Miller. Miller singled home a run in the first inning to put the Knights ahead to stay and finished the day 4 for 4 with 3 runs scored.

“We had to adjust to the pitches coming from pretty fast pitchers to slow pitchers, so we had to get our timing down,” Miller said.

Lafayette went up 1-0 in the top of the first thanks to a run scored off an infield hit with bases loaded.

Howell North answered in the bottom of the first with fours runs. Skylar Ruiz grounded to short and Sahaura Pauley singled and scored off a double from Janae Watkins.

After Howell North pitcher Elizabeth Davis grounded to second for the second out, Miller ripped an RBI-single to center giving the Knights the lead for good at 2-1.”It was pretty big to come back then because we usually have a hard time coming back when other people score,” Miller said.

The Knights finished out the inning with two more runs as run-scoring singles by Brianna Azevedo and Emily Fetsch moved the lead to 4-1.

In the second, Howell North chased Lancers starter Natalie Matthews with a five-run outburst extending the margin to 9-1.

Miller provided the big hit of the frame with a two-run double to left field.

It was the first rough outing for Matthews and the Lancers in four games as Lafayette (2-7) was coming in off back to back wins over St. Joseph’s and Rockwood Summit.

“You’ve got to give them (Howell North) credit,” Lafayette coach Scott DeNoyer said. “They are a good hitting team and they did they needed to do and we gave them some opportunities and they got some big hits.”

Davis had little problem handling the Lancers bats, as she held Lafayette to just two runs on three hits, struck out three and walked one in picking up the win in the circle.

“Davis is very gritty and she did well,” Dunuhue said.

The Knights closed it out with eight runs in the third.

Lafayette will look to get back on track today in a 4:15 p.m. Suburban West game at Mehlville.

Howell North travels to Fort Zumwalt West today for a 4:15 p.m. GAC South contest.



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