PENDLETON — Using “small ball” at the bottom of the lineup and showing an embarrassment of riches in the pitcher’s circle, No. 1-ranked Pendleton Heights stopped Alexandria 10-0 on Thursday.

Senior Amber DeWitt blanked the Tigers on three hits, the shutout preserved when Chelsea Held rifled a throw from center field to the plate to cut down Molly DiRuzza trying to score from second on a single.

“She’s in a tough situation with the (sophomore) pitchers ahead of her,” said PH coach Scott Hall. “But she makes the most of her chances. She has the lowest ERA on the team.”

The Arabians scored five times on four hits in the second and four times on five hits in the fifth. Both spurts were triggered by the second half of the PH batting order.

“We’ve been hammering them all year about hitting the ball on the ground,” said Hall. “We want them to hit the top half. They’re working at it real hard.”

The work is paying off.

In the second, Allison Clarke and Casey Jamerson had bunt singles following Tiffany Held’s walk and the bases were juiced with one out. Ashlee Clendenen beat out a grounder to short to make it 2-0 off Alexandria starter Sarah Almack.

A groundout scored a third run. With first base open, Almack pitched carefully to PH’s Stephanie Turner and walked her. The only problem with that strategy was that it brought Becca Butler to the plate with a chance to virtually put the game out of reach. She did just that with a bases-clearing double. The inning ended with the home team on top 6-0.

Almack settled down in the third and fourth innings, retiring six of the eight hitters she faced.

“She’s doing what we tell her,” said Alexandria coach Rob Sayre. “When she started throwing the change-up more, they started popping it up. I was calling pitches. I should have started going to that earlier. I’m learning too. This is my first year as coach.”

DeWitt retired the final six Tigers hitters, half by strikeout.

The Arabians ended it in the bottom of the fifth by loading the bases with nobody out. Erin Falkenberry punched a single to right. Tiffany Held dropped a bloop single on the infield and Clarke bunted her way aboard. A bases-loaded walk to pinch-hitter Whitney Owens made it 7-0.

Another pinch-hitter, freshman Halee Myers, doubled home two runs and Clendenen ended it with a single.

“Boy it sure would be nice to have all of those fast players hitting from the left side,” said Sayre. “They did what we try to do. This may have been good for us coming off the Frankton win. We’re tied for first in the conference and we have a big conference game Tuesday (host Eastbrook).” The Tigers (10-6) host Taylor Monday.

“It’s amazing to me that we were able to play the teams we have the past three weeks and still be unbeaten,” said Hall of his 21-0 record. “But we’ve been able to hold the tide back.”

The Arabians play every day next week. Monday they are at Shelbyville. On Tuesday they return to Legends Fields to face Greenfield, followed by another home game Wednesday against Delta.

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