By Jeremy McDonald
DAYTON, Ore.– Granted it’s just eight innings into the season, but Dayton softball looked solid behind their new pitcher-catcher combination of Brin Shilhanek and Lillie Brooks.
A familiar combination as Brooks points out, Brooks having caught Shilhanek since the third grade and Shilhanek learning from Maddie Fluke last year in trusting her defense has led to some sense of confidence as the Pirates finally got a full-game under their belts Tuesday afternoon at home.
“I’ve been super nervous starting, but now I’m super comfortable with a defense behind me that I can back me up. Even when I’m struggling they’re always there for me, so it really helps me out because I now know Maddie had so much support from the field and now I get it,” Shilhanek said.
“I was kind of nervous at the beginning of the season because of Jodi deSmet was actually catcher, so two younger classmen is kind of nerve-racking. But I think we’re doing pretty good,” adds Brooks.
Despite their game against Santiam Christian being postponed after three innings with Dayton leading 12-3 on the Eagles, the Pirates came out Tuesday with some unfinished business.
Carrying the momentum from Monday’s game Dayton went to battle with Rainier, both ranked third and first by the OSAA Preseason Coaches Poll, on Day 2 of the Spring Season. Pacing four runs in their eventual 12-1 win in five innings over the first three innings, leading 4-0 going into the bottom half of the fourth inning on the Columbians.
Shilhanek struck out two in the five innings of work, but made sure her defense worked behind her to limit the damage to three hits and a Lacy Makinson RBI hit in the top half of the fifth inning.
“I think we’re really picking it up. This is kind of a big win for us because of how we’ve been in the past and how Rainier has been in the past and it’s going to start our season good,” Shilhanek said. “We believe in each other now and I think it’s going to help us in the future.”
Brooks led the offense with three RBI’s on 2-for-3 hitting. Jori Hill went 2-for-3 at the plate for Dayton as well as the Pirates offense produced ten hits as Dayton will enter Spring Break looking to take advantage of four games in Medford next week.
“I think we worked better as a team today. The score showed it too that we had double-digit hits today, so that’s really good to see as a team. Brin did great on the mound, I’m really ahppy that she’s sta
Photos By Jeremy McDonald