WAPAKONETA — An all-day search wouldn’t turn up a weakness in the lineup of Parkway’s softball team.
As it was, it took only 4 ½ innings for Ada to discover that when the Panthers relentlessly rolled to a 15-0, run-rule win over the Bulldogs in a Division IV softball district semifinal on Tuesday at Wapakoneta High School.
Ten players drove in runs for Parkway (21-1). Ten batters scored runs. Eight of the Panthers’ 12 hits were extra-base hits.
McKenna Temple had a double and a triple, Alisa Gray and Alyssa Miller had two hits each and Haley Hawk hit an opposite field home run to right field.
Parkway scored six runs in the bottom of the first inning and added two more in the second inning, three in the third inning and four in the fourth inning.
“That team can hit the ball up and down the lineup, no doubt about it. They’re probably one of the top two or three hitting teams in the state, I would imagine,” Ada coach Troy Erickson said.
“We didn’t beat ourselves tonight. You just had a team that mashed the ball. Those girls can play. The bottom of their lineup hits the ball as well as the top hits it. There’s no reprieve,” he said.
Ada (13-11) put two runners on base in the top of the first inning with two out, but Hawk – the Midwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year – got out of the inning and the Bulldogs got only one base runner in the last four innings.
Parkway will play the winner of today’s New Bremen-Minster district semifinal for the district championship at 5 p.m. Friday.
“We lost 2-1 in nine innings to New Bremen in the district finals last year. We’re back to where we were last year and hopefully we’ll keep going,” Parkway coach Mark Esselstein said.
Tuesday’s win was the 20th in a row for the Panthers, whose only loss was against Division II Wapakoneta.
“We’ve just been really consistent. We’re getting good pitching, we’re getting good defense and we can really stick the ball when we’re on our game. That’s a good combination to have,” Esselstein said.
Ada walked Hawk two of the three times she batted, with her home run coming in the only at bat when the catcher didn’t set a target far off the outside corner of the plate.
“We’ve got hitters all up and down the lineup,” Esselstein said. “If you try to pitch around Haley and take her out of the game we’ve got other kids who can hurt you with their bats.”
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.