ORANGE PARK – Powered by a home run by Addyson Mauldin, the Orange Park High Raiders softball team used stellar defense to defeat the visiting Middleburg High Broncos 7-4 Friday night in a Clay …
ORANGE PARK – Powered by a home run by Addyson Mauldin, the Orange Park High Raiders softball team used stellar defense to defeat the visiting Middleburg High Broncos 7-4 Friday night in a Clay County clash at Orange Park High School.
From the start, the Raiders stampeded their way through the first two innings with a ton of help from Mauldin to build a strong 6-0 lead that the Broncos could never overcome.
“They plateaued a little bit, but then the homerun by Addy sparked it” said Raider Head Coach Lee Taylor.
Mauldin drove in runs in the first and second inning, then when her team needed a shot in the arm, she took the first pitch of her at bat in the fifth to send the ball out of the park for the final Raider score. The Broncos tried several times, but would leave girls stranded on base as the Raider defense kicked it into high gear for the home 7-4 victory.
After sending the first three Middleburg batters back to the dugout; two striking out, the Raiders stepped up to the plate and put the Broncos on notice. Carrington Robinson was the recipient of a Payton Mahon error and made it safely on base. Ramsey Phillips wasted no time as she took pitch one, and sent it to deep left field for an RBI double. Jenna Hiers sacrificed to move Phillips over the third base. Next was Addyson Mauldin’s turn as she laid down a perfect bunt that was not played well at all. She was safe on first, driving Phillips in for score number two. When pitching resumed, the catcher couldn’t hold onto a McKenzie Bush pitch and Mauldin made her way to second. With only one out, Kayla Saunders got the signal for bunt, and again made her way onto first, this time by way of an error by first baseman Payton Mahon. As Mauldin scored, Saunders made her way to third. 3-0 Raiders. The Broncos got the last two outs to close the inning, but the damage was done real early.
Asked if he was happy with his team’s batting, Taylor said “For tonight; yes. Tonight, they did pretty good, but we have some things we have to work on, we have to change a few styles here and there and then they should be ready.”
In the top of the second, Middleburg would get Payton Mahon, and Haleigh Wright to second and third base, but leave them there as the next three batters would all be retired. Back at work in the batter’s box, the Raiders again wasted no time as Samantha Kinsall continued taking advantage of the issue the Broncos were having with bunts. With Kinsall safe, Kalli Winder sacrificed down the third base line to advance Kinsall as Winder was out at first. Carrington Robinson was next, grounding to Bronco pitcher McKenzie Bush who hesitated, allowing Robinson to safely score and RBI single as Kinsall ran home. Robinson stole second and waited there until Ramsy Phillips grounded to third base. Phillips made it safely to first, and in the commotion, Robinson took third. Off a Jenna Hiers bunt, Bronco catcher Olivia Wilbur made a smart play and tagged Robinson as she tried going to home plate. Hiers was safe on first, and Phillips made her way the third. Hiers stole second and waited for her chance. It didn’t take long as Addyson Mauldin came up again. With two outs and two runners in scoring position, Mauldin nailed a hard shot to Bronco shortstop Emily Bach, driving both Phillips and Hiers home; 6-0 Raiders.
In the top of the fifth, Haleigh Campbell drove a two RBI single to give her Broncos some new life. A tie was only two runs away.
That hope was dashed again when Addyson Mauldin was the first batter up of the inning and took the first pitch dished up, sending it out of the park in deep left field.
“I knew that she was going to throw me high and I like high pitches, so I put it in my mind that if she was going to lay one low for me, I was going to take it” said Addyson Mauldin of her homerun at bat. “As soon as it left the bat, I knew it. Try not to look, try just to sprint to get on base as fast as I can, but I knew it. It feels good and I love hitting homeruns. At the same time, it doesn’t stop; you never know what can happen so you just keep grinding, keep working hard.”
In the game’s last six outs for the Broncos, they could do no better than get four runners on base, only to leave them there as the Raider defense would come to life and lasso the Broncos with a 7-4 loss.