Chadwell leads Boyle to blowout over South Laurel

Katy Grace Chadwell said it’s hard to switch positions during a game, especially entering the pitching circle with little warm up.

Apparently, it wasn’t too hard for Chadwell on Friday night. The sophomore entered in the second inning for an injury McKinley Rush and dominated South Laurel, allowing three hits over four innings in a 10-0 mercy rule win in five innings.

Chadwell struck out the first two two batters she faced in the second inning and got the third out on a fly ball to left field. She ended the game with eight strikeouts and no walks.

“It’s difficult coming from one base to another and then not having that much time to warm up, but other than that, my mind’s pretty focused,” Chadwell said. “My focus is mostly to get it done and know that my defense has my back, I don’t have all this pressure on me.”

Rush pitched well in the first inning, showing no signs of the strained pectoral muscle which has kept her out of recent games. But she complained of tightness coming off the field and Boyle coach Brian Deem made the call to bring over Chadwell from first base.

Rush allowed one hit and struck out three in her one inning of work.

“We had slated her to come back tonight, but that’s when it was 65 and nice, and all the sudden we get 52 degree weather and cold,” Deem said. “She threw a great first inning. … Instead of trying to push through and make a situation worse, we went ahead and made the change.”

He said it’s moments like that where he’s fortunate to have the pitching staff he does.

“We’re fortunate that we have Katy Grace and Kelly (Lay) to come in and do things like that,” Deem said.

“Katy is one of our kids that keeps our team lose, but when she got in the circle and realized she had to perform, she’s able to dial in and perform.”

The Rebels offense spotted their pitching staff a 3-0 lead after the first inning, but Deem called his team in for a quick meeting and let them know he wasn’t happy with their effort or energy level. They came back in the second inning to plate two runs, which Deem was happier with than the three in the first.

The game was odd from the start, with the Cardinals not arriving for the 6 p.m. start until a few minutes after that. They went through their warm ups, and the game started 45 minutes late.

“I didn’t think we were very focused at the plate, we were making silly mistakes, the dugout was quiet,” Deem said. “Yeah, the weather’s different, spring break and everything, but they know me, that’s an excuse. You have an expectation every game when you come out here to bring energy.

“In about the fourth inning, I heard South Laurel’s coach make the comment, It’s hard for me to communicate with my kids because they’re so loud cheering. That’s what we want, that’s who we are.”

The delay gave Deem a teachable moment for his players.

“This is perfect. Region tournament, state tournament, you have a rain delay, can you recharge the battery and get focused again,” he said.

Boyle took a 6-0 lead after scoring once in the third, and a three-run fourth put them on the cusp of the mercy rule with a 9-0 lead. Lay had a two-run double to highlight the inning.

The Rebels played small ball and used their quickness in the fifth, with Channing Baker and Madison Robbins laying down bunts and beating throws to first. Baker scored the game-ending run on Channing Whitehouse’s hit, her second RBI of the game.

Robbins led four players with multi-hit games, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Whitehouse, Chadwell and Lay each had two hits. Chadwell, Lay and Gracie Edmiston each had a double.

“I thought we would have hit three out tonight if it hadn’t been for the 20 mile per hour wind,” Deem said. “… I think Keely’s (Bowling) shot was gone, and Kelly Lay hit two that would have been gone as well.”

The Rebels improved to 4-4, breaking a two-game losing streak. They travel to Allen County-Scottsville today before heading to Clarksville, Tenn., for the Tennessee Softball Coaches Association Classic next week. They don’t play at home against until hosting Danville on April 19.

Follow Jeremy Schneider on Twitter @jschneideramn