Defending Academic Athletic Association champion Washington High School didn’t take long to make an impression in the 2011 season, and they did it almost without having to swing a bat.
The Eagles instead had their first seven batters score without a hit, en route to a 15-0 win over Lincoln (0-1, 0-1) in both teams’ AAA opener on Thursday at Rossi Playground. The game was called in the bottom of the third inning due to the mercy rule.
“It’s so early in the year, and with the rain nobody has really had practice time, so in the second round [of league play] I think it’s going to be different,” said Washington coach Carrie Wert. “We’ve got a whole new team out there, but I have high hopes.”
After the first seven runs scored on a combination of walks, wild pitches, a fielder’s choice and a hit by pitch, Lincoln junior pitcher Ariana Wilson settled down and retired the next two batters, but then the Washington (1-1, 1-0) bats woke up.
Still in the first inning, but the second time through the lineup, leadoff hitter Jamie Hom singled, then Mari Kawano hit a triple to right field and junior Alice Cen capped the 10-run inning with a line-drive home run into left-center field.
Cen also pitched well in just three innings of work allowing three hits while striking out eight, including the final seven outs of the game. It was Cen’s second start of her high school career.
“She’s a new pitcher and we’ve set up as many game situations as we can in practice, but the game is totally different,” Wert said.
Wilson, also a very inexperienced pitcher in her high school first start, walked 10 batters and struck out three.
“This is a measuring stick,” said Lincoln coach Kevin Grayson. “I’m happy with our effort and I’m happy Ariana got to pitch to live batters finally. She did pretty good after that first inning, but you could see the nerves clearly.”
Washington was dominant from the start against the Mustangs on this date, but Wert still sees room for improvement on a young team that has a lot to live up to.
“I’m happy [with the result], but even after the championship game last year I thought we needed to work on things,” Wert said. “There’s so much to learn, even after every play. Halfway through [the season] they’re going to look like a different team.”