WALES — With the postseason lurking, the Oak Hill softball team doesn’t seem to be lacking focus.

Powered by the top half of the order, the Raiders pounded their way to a 12th straight win with a 13-1, six-inning victory over Hall-Dale in a highly anticipated Mountain Valley Conference showdown Monday afternoon. Junior catcher Emma Hlister collected three hits, including a pair of triples, drove in three runs and scored three times as Oak Hill improved to 13-1.

“Our bats have just come through this year,” Hlister said. “We’re hitting the ball hard and we’re continuing to each game. Knock on wood, because it’s really going good right now.”

Hall-Dale (9-5) found itself in a tight, 3-1 game through three and a half innings, having plated a run on Hailey Taker’s fielder’s choice in the top of the fourth. From there, though, the Raiders got to Bulldog pitcher Becca Ackerson, piling up five runs in the home half of the frame on the strength of four hits and two walks. Grace Sabine (2 for 4) and Brooke Surette (2 for 4 with a double) each delivered two-run singles as Oak Hill built an 8-1 lead.

“We just didn’t come ready to play today, you could see it. We’ve had a few games like that this year,” Hall-Dale coach Steve Acedo said. “This is one of the better teams I’ve coached, and they have all the talent and ability to do it. Some days they start out slow, and against a good team like (Oak Hill), it’s just too late to come back from that and attack.”

Oak Hill pitcher Makayla Nadeau made sure of that. Buoyed by the seven-run lead, Nadeau retired the final eight Bulldog batters of the game — needing just 15 pitches to record those eight outs.

“That’s the way it has been every single game,” Nadeau said. “Once I get that little bit of a lead and I have that cushion, it’s OK if I make a mistake or aren’t trying to be too fine with my pitches. It ends up working fine, because I’m not trying to overthrow it or trying to aim it as much.

“The pressure’s off at that point, and we have the defense to back me up. We have the best defense we’ve had in many years.”

On a day in which the Raider defense turned in a strong effort, the attention was squarely on the team’s offense. Piling up 13 hits, scoring in five of six innings and getting at least one hit from every spot in the lineup will do that.

Hlister and Jamie Prue set the tone out of the top two spots in the order. Prue drove in three runs, one of them on a sharply hit single to center field in the fifth that chased Ackerson from the game.

“(Ackerson) is one of the best pitchers in this league, and the speed really helps with my bat when I come through and make contact,” Hlister said. “I feel like I hit better with faster pitchers, and she’s one of the fastest. It worked out for me.”

As Oak Hill continues to chase the top of the Class B South Heal point standings, Raiders head coach Ashley Collins sees the strides her team is making as the playoffs inch closer.

In the season opener, the Raiders eked out a 1-0 win over Hall-Dale.

“I think they’re just coming out with confidence. They believe in each other,” Collins said. “They believe they can win. It was huge the Hall-Dale win at the beginning of the season — they’re a great team — and we got confidence from that. Then we had the Madison (loss in the second game of the season), and ever since then every win has made us believe a little more.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC


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