By Ryan Hines
Back-to-back 1-0 wins over quality opponents have the Celina softball team still undefeated on the season and in the Western Buckeye League.
Melanie Heyne fired a complete game one-hitter and also plated the only run of the game as part of a three-hit day in Celina's 1-0 victory over Bath at Feth Diamond on Friday in front of a packed house at Eastview Park.
Heyne was dominant for the second straight day on the mound for the Bulldogs racking up 12 punchouts, just 24 hours after throwing five no-hit innings with 11 strikeouts against Parkway.
"We've always prepared for this game like it's the game of the season," admitted Heyne about playing Bath. "I was a little shaky before the game because I wasn't feeling the way that I usually am, but once I got out there I knew I had to do what I had to do and we got the job done. My arm was hurting a little bit (after throwing five innings a day earlier) but in a game this big, you just have to focus on task at hand."
"This is pretty much exactly what both sides were expecting," said Celina head coach Nicole Driggs about the close game between WBL powerhouses. "Both teams have strong pitching and we just had to scratch a run across anyway that we could. "Mel came out and performed on the mound and did everything that we asked of her," added Driggs. "She hit her spots and took control on the mound."
After starting the season 13-0, Bath has now lost four straight leaving Wildkittens head coach Laura Ford scratching her head.
"I'm more concerned with the way that we're playing right now than I am with the way Mel Heyne threw against us," said Ford. "We're not taking care of ourselves and that's what has happened to us in our four losses. A lot of pitchers have had good games against us recently because we're not taking care of ourselves.
"We swung at bad pitches and let some good pitches go by, I just don't think that we were in it mentally today and I have no idea why," added Ford.
Hannah Rockhold was the hard-luck loser for Bath allowing six hits and one earned run while striking out 13.
The lone Celina run came in the fourth inning as the Bulldogs received a clutch hit from a senior leader.
A one-out single by freshman Audrey Harner started a Celina rally and Alyssa Schaffner reached base via a fielder's choice to put two runners on for the Grand Lake Area's leading hitter Amy Harner, who's hitting over .500 on the season.
The older Harner reached base with a bunt single to load the bases before Heyne drove a pitch off of Rochold's glove on the mound allowing Audrey Harner to race home for the only run of the game.
"Mel is one of our key leaders, she's a born leader and certainly played like it today in a big game," said Driggs of Heyne. "It was no surprise to see her come through in the clutch for us. She did it on the mound and at the plate for us."
Celina is back in action again today with a doubleheader on the road at Pickerington.