St. Marys softball pitcher Rachel Ginther had a perfect start to her season.
Ginther threw a perfect game against the Lady Elkers in an 18-0, 5-inning win over Ridgway Friday afternoon at Francis S. Grandinetti Elementary School.
Ginther struck out 11 of the 15 batters she faced and had a stretch of five strikeouts in a row from the second until the fourth innings.
"With Rachel throwing a perfect game, you can't ask for much more," St. Marys coach Manny Gerarge said. "It's a good way to start the season."
Offensively, the Lady Dutch blew the game open with a 7-run second inning. Already ahead 1-0, the inning started as Mia Keener and Raelyn Cunningham reached on walks. After a groundout, Taylor Bellina hit a slow roller down the first base line and was able to beat out the throw to score Keener. Another infield hit from Savanah Krivonyak scored Cunningham to up the lead to 3-0. After a walk from Erica Sorg, Kali Quagliani hit a sacrifice fly which scored Bellina and also Krivonyak on a Ridgway throwing error to third. Ginther then singled home Sorg for another run for the Lady Dutch and Hayley McGowan hit a 2-run home run over the left field fence which also plated courtesy runner Ashlee Johnston.
"We only got one run in the first inning, we came out a little slow and then the girls started getting the bats going," coach Gerarge said. "We were able to capitalize on a few mistakes on their side. Hayley McGowan had a big home run there."
St. Marys added another run in the third inning as Cassie Wonderling singled and later scored on a single from Krivonyak to put the Lady Dutch ahead 9-0.
"That's a tough game to start with," Ridgway coach Gary Gerber II said. "We started out only giving up one run in the first inning. They came back with seven in the second inning. I think that took a lot out of our girls, I think. They can learn from that. They can't put themselves down. They did come back with only giving up one run the next inning."
The Lady Dutch then proceeded to add five runs in the fourth inning. Sorg and Quagliani walked and both scored on a Ginther single. McGowan walked and Keener singled to score Johnston for St. Marys' 12th run. Courtney Bankovich would later draw a walk after St. Marys made two outs at the plate. Bankovich's walk would load the bases and Krivonyak would then garner an RBI the hard way as she was hit by a pitch, plating Keener. Sorg walked which scored Amber Gerarge. Gerber II said cutting down on the walks will be important as the season moves forward.
"Work on throwing strikes, I think that will be the key to staying in these games," Gerber II said. "You can't put people on against the better teams in the district. Giving up runs and trying to catch up to their pitcher was impossible basically."
St. Marys scored four more times in the fifth. Andria Copelli and McGowan started the inning with singles. After a strikeout, Cunningham singled home Copelli. Kelsey Fritz reached on an error to score McGowan. Sorg would single home Cunningham and Quagliani walked which plated Fritz for the Lady Dutch's 18th run.
Sorg led off the game by being hit by a pitch. She stole second and got to third on a wild pitch before scoring on a Quagliani sacrifice fly.
Ginther and Krivonyak led St. Marys with three RBI while Quagliani and McGowan each had a pair of RBI. St. Marys finished with 13 hits. Krivonyak, Ginther and McGowan each had two hits to lead the Lady Dutch.
Ridgway (0-1) is scheduled to play at Kane Tuesday for a 4:15 p.m. start. St. Marys (1-0) is scheduled to host DuBois at 4:15 p.m. Monday.
"I told the girls to enjoy this victory and then we've got a big game on Monday against DuBois," coach Gerarge said. "DuBois is always tough."