The Greenwood softball machine shows no signs of slowing.
The No. 1 Lady Gators (21-0 overall, 5-0 District 14) continued their run of dominance Thursday, routing No. 14 Bowling Green 11-0 in five innings in a key district contest at BGHS.
"It feels good to have this win against them," sophomore second baseman Katelyn Merritt said. "It was a good team effort. We came out to play this time."
Greenwood has outscored its opponents 178-9 this year, but its closest game was a 1-0 victory March 27 over Bowling Green at GHS.
Senior Kathryn Downing pitched that contest for the Lady Purples (14-8, 4-3), but they opted to turn Thursday to senior Makenize Brumit, who beat Greenwood two seasons ago in the district championship.
"They opted to go with the slower pitcher to throw us off a little bit, and I'm guessing save Downing for district and region," Greenwood coach Penny Reece said. "We feel like we can hit anybody, and tonight, we decided to take care of business. District will be here before you know it."
For two seasons, the Lady Gators have complained about having trouble hitting slower pitchers, Reece said.
But they've faced "every speed, every spin, every curve" this year, Reece said, and their experience showed as they recorded 18 hits off Brumit and seventh-grade pitcher Kaitlyn Bowling.
Greenwood scored multiple runs in four of five innings, and seven players had multiple hits.
"We've been working hard on getting that timing down and not getting frustrated if we don't get a good hit," junior catcher Aeron Smith said. "We just wait on it and try to put it somewhere."
Smith and senior third baseman Angela Adkins started with back-to-back RBI doubles in the first inning, and the Lady Gators added four runs in the second inning on five hits.
Smith and junior center fielder Raley Slone knocked run-scoring singles, and Adkins added a two-run single.
Senior right fielder Sarah Jordan had an RBI triple in the third inning, senior shortstop Emily Gravette later hit an RBI double, and Slone made it 9-0 with an RBI single.
"They were hitting the ball in the gaps like great teams do," Bowling Green senior catcher Brittany Vaughn said. "They've changed from the beginning of the season when we played them, but you have to put that behind you and move on."
Greenwood left the bases loaded in the fourth inning, but Merritt's two-run single in the fifth propelled the Lady Gators to their ninth run-rule win of the year.
Adkins finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Smith, Slone and Merritt drove in two runs apiece, and Slone, Gravette and Jordan each had three hits.
"They're so proud, but they're staying so humble," Reece said. "They know they could have an off night anytime, but they're confident. It's a total team confidence. The euphoria is just great with them."
Reece went with her ace, junior Elizabeth Moss, in the circle. The hurler struck out five batters and allowed one hit and one walk in three innings for the win.
Senior Brittany Graham pitched two scoreless innings in relief. Reece considered resting Moss, she said, but ultimately wanted her top arm on the field against BG.
"When you've got something good, you're going to go with it," Reece said. "We're not going to make a change trying to play it safe. We don't want to interrupt any of this."
Sophomore left fielder Keely Vincent had the lone hit for Bowling Green and also reached base on a walk. Vaughn drew a walk in the Lady Purples' first at-bat.
Brumit surrendered nine runs in three innings, while the relief pitcher Bowling gave up the final two runs on seven hits in two innings.
The Lady Purples play at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Allen County-Scottsville. Greenwood hosts Elizabethtown at 5 p.m. today.
Of the Lady Gators' 17 remaining regular-season games, six are against teams ranked in the top 25 in the latest coaches' poll released Thursday. Four of those six ranked opponents are in the top 11.
Greenwood has beaten the last two ranked teams it's faced – No. 6 Ballard and No. 14 BG – by a combined score of 18-0.
"The end of our schedule starts to get better each time," Smith said. "We'll still come out with confidence. I don't think the competition goes through our brain. We just play our game."
GHS 2 4 3 0 2 - 11 18 0
BGHS 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 1 0
WP: Moss LP: Brumit