MIER – Bayli Toy wasn’t toying around with Maconaquah hitters Thursday evening, and the Oak Hill sophomore softball pitcher was flirting with a no-hitter.
And when the Golden Eagles needed a big hit, Toy provided that, too. Her two-run single in the sixth inning broke open a scoreless pitcher’s dual and delivered the host Eagles a 2-0 victory over their border rivals.
Oak Hill improved to 2-1 after working around four errors and scratching out just three hits against Maconaquah pitcher Lindsay Gross. Toy lost her no-hitter with two outs in the seventh inning when Shelby Spence beat out a slowly hit ball back to Toy.
“(Toy) did a real nice job, and hopefully, we can clean it up behind her,” Oak Hill coach Ben Johnson said. “We had too many girls on base, and (Toy) had a couple walks. But it got a little ugly on the defensive side.”
Gross allowed just three hits but the senior hit the Eagles’ Jenessa Hasty three times, the last time leading off the sixth. Kaela Robey then beat out a bunt for a single, and Hasty beat the throw to third on Korinne Perkins’ grounder the bases were loaded with no outs on the fielder’s choice.
Toy had two strikes on her when she laced a single into left field, scoring Hasty and Robey and put the Eagles ahead 2-0.
“There was a lot of pressure on me, but I knew I could do it,” Toy said of her hit. “I was prepared for that.”
Lindsay’s off-speed pitches kept Eagles hitters off-balance, and while she didn’t issue a walk, she hit four batters. She struck out three, and the defense behind her was solid and made just one error.
“Our defense really held up and we had great pitching,” Maconaquah coach Marsha Piggott said after her team dropped to 0-2. “Lindsay has played travel ball off and on and worked hard this season to keep her control and not overthrow it.
“We weren’t hitting the ball and (Toy) had a rise ball that we just couldn’t lay off of” Piggott added. “We were swinging up on it instead of getting our hands where we needed them to be. We worked on hitting in practice this week and it just didn’t pay off today.
Toy struck out 11 batters including the first two to open the seventh. Spence then tapped the ball back to Toy with a lot of side spin and was able to beat out Toy’s throw to first base, breaking up the no-hitter.
“I actually thought about not fielding it and seeing if it would go foul,” Toy said. “But then I saw it was way too far out in fair territory and I knew it wouldn’t go back out. By that time she was down the line and I thought I would throw it and see what happens.”
Maria Buckler had the Eagles’ other hit, a single with one out in the first.
“(Maconaquah’s) pitcher did a nice job of keeping us off balance,” Johnson said. “We crank the speed up (on the hitting machine) in practice and get it humming to our girls because we play in a conference that throws a lot of heat. We need to make those in-game adjustments where we keep those hands back no matter what speed we’re seeing.”
Oak Hill had mustered just one scoring threat on Gross until the sixth, having runners on second and third with two outs before Braves third baseman Carra Wolf made a fine defensive play to end the inning. Although she didn’t allow a hit, Toy worked around Braves threats in the third through sixth innings.
Gross reached third base to open the third on an Oak Hill fielding error but Toy retired the next three batters. The Braves had two runners on in the fourth through sixth, and left fielder Kristen Dubois’ fine catch of Wolf’s line drive in the fifth kept it a scoreless game.
“We weren’t playing as clean as we could have,” Toy said. “But we knew what the situations were and to field every ball and to make easy throws and make every play like we know how.”
Tuesday, the Eagles defeated North Miami 8-1 with Toy striking out eight over seven innings. Robey had three hits including a double and triple with four RBIs and three runs scored. Perkins hit a double and finished with three RBIs and Buckler scored three runs.
Oak Hill hosts Eastern at 5 p.m. today.