Needing a change in bats, Auburn Mountainview’s Emma Podliska reached for the Ghost.
And lately, the new launch stick has been spooking defenses.
Podliska and her bat – an Easton-made 34-inch-long, 24-ounce, double-barrel product – came through, delivering a four-hit night as the Lions pulled away from visiting Auburn Riverside 11-5 in a midseason North Puget Sound League Olympic Division softball showdown Monday.
The junior catcher drilled an inside-the-park home run, tripled, doubled and drove in two runs for the Lions, who improved to 5-1, 8-3 overall, a half-game behind division-leading Auburn (6-1, 9-1) and a half-game in front of Auburn Riverside (4-1, 7-1).
Podliska recognized her old bat, a dinged-up Easton DeMarini CF8, had seen its last days. She immediately took to the new Ghost, smacking a home run the first time she swung it against Tahoma earlier this season.
But Podliska never had a game quite like the one Monday night in front of a packed grandstand.
“No, not really,” she said with a smile. “(The swing) felt really good … I’ve been hitting really well with the new bat. I love the bat.”
From behind the plate, Podliska worked with ace Caitlyn Rhoades and closer Purla Duran to hold off the explosive Ravens.
Rhoades tried to finish but left with a 9-5 lead after scattering nine hits over seven innings. She pitched out of trouble throughout the game, a workmanlike, 118-pitch effort, striking out eight and walking just one.
Duran gave up a pair of runs but was able to shut the door.
“It’s a great win for us,” said Lions coach Alicia Thompson.
Rhoades helped her own case, doubling and driving in three runs. Duran, Megan Perius, Azaria Johnson, Alashae Bell, Adrianna Lomeli-Smith and Lily Hope each drove in a run. Emily Bartholomew went 2 for 3 and scored a run.
The Lions got contributions from up and down the lineup.
“We’ve been working on it, from top to bottom, just teamwork, team effort. Everybody doing their job,” Thompson said.
For the Ravens, Madison Muxen went 3 for 4 and drove in a run, and Autumn Lee was 2 for 4 with a triple, double and RBI.
Lee took the loss for Auburn Riverside. She allowed seven hits and seven runs over five innings, striking out four.
Auburn Riverside left 10 on base.
“We had opportunities. We had kids on (base),” said Ravens coach Bryce Strand. “Some innings we came through, some innings we didn’t come through. Credit Auburn Mountainview. They really did a great job. They got kids on. They really put the pressure on us. They came through and got those hits. That probably was the difference in the game right there.”
Both coaches know the regular season is just heating up. All three Auburn schools are in a fight for first, a battle that could stretch well into May. Each team promises to get the best from each other.
“It’s pretty cool. We take some pride in that Auburn has three teams that have been playing well,” Strand said.
Thompson added: “I’m proud that our teams are on top and battling like this. It makes for a fun rivalry.”
Kiana Adams hit a solo home run and went the distance from the circle, scattering seven hits and striking out 13, as Auburn beat visiting Todd Beamer 7-1 Tuesday.
Hailey Browne tripled and drove in two runs. Gracie Jo Olson doubled, and Callie Arnott and Carly Ross each had an RBI.
The Trojans picked up a dramatic 8-7 win against Auburn Mountainview last Friday. Charity Sevaaetasi blasted a walkoff grand slam home run for Auburn.
Adams took the win, allowing seven runs on seven hits over seven innings, striking out seven and walking one. She also went 2 for 4 at the plate. Adams, Ross and Taylor Hanson homored for Auburn.