By Ryan Palencer
DANVILLE — Behind dominant pitching and consistent offense, the Cascade softball team defeated host Danville 9-0 and 11-0 respectively in a pair of games Saturday.
“The effort was good,” Cascade coach Don Helmick said. “I don’t want to say that we’ve been struggling, but we haven’t been putting the ball in play as well as we did today. That was something to build on. The pitchers haven’t struggled, but they haven’t really brought their A game the last couple of appearances, but they brought their A game today.”
In Game 1, the Cadets took the momentum early with an offensive explosion in the fifth inning that featured a pair of home runs — a two-run homer by Brandyce Sallee and a solo shot by Shelby Collier. Morgan Burch and Kellie Mink each picked up doubles in the frame, while Kate Breedlove contributed a single.
In addition, Cascade scored two runs in each of the third and sixth innings to cruise to victory.
Along with the offense, Breedlove tossed a gem on the mound to shutout the Warriors. Not to be outdone, Mink threw a shutout of her own in the second game. Each of the hurlers struck out nine Warriors.
For Helmick, having two dominant pitchers is a luxury that he doesn’t take lightly.
“(Mink and Breedlove) did good,” Helmick said. “You look at their stats, and they’re almost identical. They had the same amount of innings and strikeouts. We have two really good pitchers. When they’re on their game, we know that we’re going to have a shot at winning. We have to score usually two or three runs with them on the mound, and when we do, we feel pretty comfortable.”
The offense was just as consistent in the second game for the Cadets as well. They got off to an early start when Sallee scored in the first on a wild pitch.
Cascade crossed the plate three more times in the second as Sallee, Mink, and Burch all picked up RBI, driving in Collier, Breedlove, and Casey Bell.
The Cadets scored four more in the third. Brenna Sallee, Collier, Breedlove, and Bell all singled before Brandyce Sallee drove in three with a long single.
Kayla Havens, Brenna Sallee, and Collier scored in the fourth and the Cadets cruised to the 11-0 victory.
Along with the pitching, Helmick was extremely pleased with the offense.
“The good thing was that there were a few walks, but there really weren’t too many errors on Danville’s side,” he said. “We got a lot of legit base hits. That’s a good thing. We didn’t score all of those runs on errors.”
Though the final result wasn’t what the Warriors were looking for, Danville coach Jennifer Chasteen said she was pleased with the way her squad hung with the Cadets.
“I thought that they did well and that they hung in there,” Chasteen said. “We kind of knew what we were getting into with (Cascade). We know that they’re ranked in the state. We haven’t seen that kind of pitching yet this year, so we knew that it was going to be tough. We tried to adjust and we had a few hits off of them. I’m proud of that.”