AKRON — The season is very young for Brunswick’s softball team, but there’s a noticeable swagger that’s been missing the last few seasons.
That saunter showed Saturday after the Blue Devils beat Waterloo 10-1 at the Ohio Invitational.
Brunswick (3-0) had it all against the Vikings (1-3), as timely hitting, good defense, smart baserunning and another incredible pitching performance by Courtney Saville had this one over early.
While the contest ended after six innings due to time constraints — the games were 80 minutes long — the thought of a Waterloo comeback was never in question.
“I think our confidence level is the highest it’s been in years, and that comes from one kid getting a hit and then another,” Blue Devils coach Julie Salzman said. “We’re generating runs, we’re fielding well and giving them only three outs an inning. We used to make dumb mistakes by giving four or five outs an inning. Hopefully this continues.”
The Vikings never had a chance with Saville in the circle, as the right-handed junior picked up her third win in as many appearances.
Saville sent the first 12 down before a single by Morgan Perry broke up a perfect game. Kaitlyn Hood had another single in the sixth inning, but Waterloo couldn’t figure out Saville.
Using a mixture of fastballs, curveballs, riseballs and changeups, she struck out nine and allowed one unearned run.
“She’s pretty unstoppable,” Salzman said. “I saw she might have slowed down in the last inning and thought, ‘OK, we’ve got this in the bag.’ Then that girl got that hit and she was right back at it again.”
Saville had the opportunity to put it in cruise control thanks to some heady play by the Blue Devils. Megan Mulhan got things going in the second inning with a bases-loaded double that cleared the bases with two outs.
That put Brunswick up four, but the big damage came in the fourth against Haley Hurd (1-3). Hurd lost control with four wild pitches, four walks and hit two batters in the frame.
The Blue Devils managed only two hits in the inning, but scored six runs to make it a double-digit lead.
“It was very important because we needed to jump on them early so they would lose hope and get down,” Mulhan said. “If that happens to us, that’s how we would feel.”
Saville came close to throwing her second no-hitter of the season after opening the year with a no-no against Normandy.
“(The run support) helped me a lot,” Saville said. “I’m a lot more confident with my pitching. I’m more at ease even if I make a mistake. I feel at ease when I’m pitching because I know they’ll back me up.”
In another game:
Beaumont 4, Brunswick 3
AKRON — Saville (3-1) couldn’t find enough magic to dance out of a
fifth-inning jam as the Blue Devils (3-1) suffered their first loss of the season.
The junior loaded the bases and looked like she might get out of things, but with one out she hit Rebbeca Lachman with a pitch to plate the winning run. Saville allowed just the one earned run in four innings and struck out three.
Emily Lott went the distance for the Blue Streaks. She allowed three earned runs and struck out eight.
Jessica Zucca added a double for Beaumont.
Contact Brad Bournival
Brunswick 10, Waterloo 1 (6 inn.)
WATERLOO 000 010 — 1 2 3
BRUNSWICK 040 60 x — 10 4 1
Game called due to time constraints. WP — Courtney Saville (3-0) 6 innings, 0 earned runs, 9 strikeouts. LP — Haley Hurd (1-3) 5 innings, 8 earned runs, 8 walks, 6 strikeouts. Waterloo (1-3). Brunswick (3-0) — Paige Salisbury double, 2 runs; Megan Mulhan single, double, 3 RBIs; Sydney Sherry double.
Beaumont 4, Brunswick 3
BRUNSWICK 120 000 0 — 3 5 0
BEAUMONT 210 010 x — 4 7 2
WP — Emily Lott 6 innings, 3 earned runs, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts. LP — Saville (3-1) 4 innings, 1 run, 1 earned, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts. Brunswick (3-1). Beaumont — Jessie Zucca double.