GLEN DALE - The Buckeye Local softball team didn't do much wrong Thursday against John Marshall. Sure, the Panthers walked six batters and allowed 10 hits, but it wasn't as though the Monarchs were tearing the cover off the ball.
John Marshall, though, can beat teams in myriad of ways, and it showed another of those in an 8-0, five-inning victory against the Panthers (4-5).
Of the 10 hits for the Monarchs (17-3), all but one were singles. But John Marshall stole five bases and the top two hitters in the lineup - Kristin Lewicki and Jackie Gellner - were on base all eight times they came to bat.
John Marshall’s Kristin Lewicki (7) slides into second for a successful steal, while Buckeye Local’s Lauren Swiger (6) is late with the tag during their game Thursday.
''They're a great team and we knew what they were going back to last year,'' Panthers coach Joe Soos said. ''But we like challenges. If you're going to be the best, you've got to play the best.
''They hit the ball, they make the plays and they have great pitching, which is why they've won 45 of 50 or whatever it is.''
The Monarchs find different ways to get it done offensively, but the one constant has been ace left-hander Amy Rotriga, who was on her game again in the circle. The senior struck out nine and allowed one hit in four innings of work before giving way to freshman Alyssa Blake, who fanned two in her lone inning.
''She was a little upset with herself because she didn't think she threw very well,'' JM coach Ed West said of Rotriga. ''Half the time our defense doesn't even have to do anything because she just sets them down.
''For the whole season she's been really sharp - as good as I've ever seen her.''
John Marshall did leave 11 runners on base, yet scored at least one run in every inning, anyway. The Monarchs got two in the first on a Kylie Howard single and a Hannah Rogerson groundout, then tacked on another in the second as Morgan Watson brought Alexa Jones home with a sacrifice fly.
JM added another in the third as Watson doubled home a run, then Jones singled in a run in the fourth to make it 7-0. The Monarchs put it away in the bottom of the fifth as Sissy George punched a ball through the left side of the infield to score Lewicki.
''Sometimes they help us and sometimes we manufacture some runs just by putting it in play and using our speed,'' West said. ''Gellner has got really good speed and she's an all-around ball player.
''She's a good bunter and she's been getting on base.''
The Panthers had three hits - singles by Lauren Swiger in the fourth and a pair by Becky and Rachel Zeroski in the fifth - but could not get a run home.
''They have the better team. There's no doubt about it,'' Soos said.