She had seen most of Spring Garden’s other Class 1A, Area 12 opponents this season, but starting pitcher Bree Blevins put Welsh’s concern to rest.
The junior pitcher tossed a 1-hit shutout, striking out 12 in a 13-0 Spring Garden win in five innings.
“She was really in control,” Welsh said of Blevins. “She didn’t throw a wild pitch or anything, and hit all of her spots. She controlled the batters and moved the ball around on them. I think only one or two of them touched it.”
The only hit Blevins surrendered for Spring Garden (5-3, 3-0) came in the top of the first to Collinsville’s Christa Cox. Cox was 1 for 2 for the game.
While Collinsville’s batters struggled against Blevins, Spring Garden’s hitters flourished, particularly the top of the lineup.
Centerfielder and leadoff batter Jordan Sides led the charge. She went 2 for 2 with a double, two walks and a run.
“She’s been on fire, and been selective at bat,” Welsh said of Sides. “She’s either going to hit it or get walked. There’s very few strikeouts.”
First baseman Brianna Messer had a two-run single. Blevins, Ashley Payne and Ivy Franklin all had RBI-singles. Shortstop Heather Smart reached base twice and drove in two runs on a pair of Collinsville errors.
Patience at the plate also paid off for Spring Garden. As a team, Spring Garden drew 11 walks.
Four of those walks came in the first inning, which saw Spring Garden jump out to a 3-0 lead on Collinsville starter Summer Roberts. Spring Garden scored all of its runs in the inning on passed balls.
“When you get runners on base, you’ve got to move them,” Welsh said. “You’ve got to find a way to touch the ball or get the ball in play somehow. At the same time you’ve got bases loaded and you’re ahead in the count, you might as well just stand there. There’s no place for you, so just take the walk.”
Brittney Tidmore came in to relieve Roberts in the second, but Spring Garden piled on four more runs to take a 7-0 lead.
Spring Garden added two more runs in the third and four more in the fourth for the final.