It was the first time she’d ever hit lefty in a game.
After fouling off two pitches, Ryan duly laced an infield single that scored Washington’s 26th run of the game. The Eagles went on to beat the Bears 30-2. The game was called after the third inning.
“I was really excited to hit lefty,” said Ryan, who finished 4-for-4 from the plate with three runs and a team-high six RBIs. “It was going to be fun to try it.”
The win pushed the Eagles’ record to 8-2 in Academic Athletic Association play. They entered Tuesday’s game tied for second with Lincoln and two games behind undefeated Lowell. Lincoln and Lowell have handed Washington its only two losses.
Eagles coach Carrie Wert felt the win over Mission (2-8) was another strong step for a very young team. Washington scored 14 runs before Mission recorded an out in the top of the first inning. Reserves cycled through the lineup, and by the third inning, each of the Eagles’ batters took a turn hitting from the other side of the plate.
“Half of my team is freshmen, but they’re eager and they’re hard-working,” Wert said. “I rely on the leadership of my five seniors [three of whom are starters]. I’m pleased with this team. They’re where they should be.”
Ryan pitched all three innings for the Eagles. After a rocky first, when she hit two batters and allowed two runs, she calmed down considerably. In her final two innings of work, she gave up just one hit and struck out three.
“The defense was strong behind me, so I could trust them,” Ryan said. “It relaxes me when I get ahead, because I know I have those runs behind me.”
Wert marvels at Ryan’s strength — she was jammed on two of her hits — and already considers her to be one of the best hitters in the league.
“She’s going to be something to be reckoned with in the future,” Wert said. “I’m a very technical coach, and she’s having to think a lot as she adjusts to all of my situational plays. But once those become automatic for her, she’s going to be amazing.”
Mission coach Karen Murray pointed to yet more experience for her players.
“I have a very young team, so you have to teach them every single thing,” Murray said. “But I was pretty happy that we put two runs on the board. That hasn’t happened that often for us this year.”