GLEN PARK Other than the long sleeves, hand warmers and winter head bands, the General Brown softball team had the look of a group gearing up for the postseason Monday.
Katie Pitkin struck out 12 in a complete game and each of the Lions top eight batters finished with at least one hit in a 17-2 Frontier League crossover rout of South Lewis on a bitterly cold and windy evening at Brownville Elementary School.
General Brown improved to 14-3 overall and 13-2 in the league and stayed in a tie with South Jefferson in the loss column for the B Division lead.
The Lions were coming off a 7-4 loss to the Spartans on Friday, which senior catcher Hope VanBrocklin said provided motivation entering the final week of the regular season.
Pairings for the Section 3 playoffs will be released Sunday.
After a loss like that we just wanted to come in strong and show were a good team, because we are, said VanBrocklin, who got the Lions started with a run-scoring double in the first inning.
We werent real happy with that but this game should definitely boost our spirits. We played extremely well and hit the ball great, she added.
General Brown, ranked No. 13 in the state in Class B, batted around the order in the first and sixth innings, scoring a combined 13 runs. It finished with 13 hits overall.
Nikki Maier and Chelsea VanTassel each went 3-for-4. Maier tripled and drove in a run while VanTassel doubled and knocked in two.
Deleha Decker and Kayla Gaffney added two hits apiece and Decker drove in three runs.
They came out, they were energetic and cheering for each other and that was a big thing we needed to do, General Brown coach Darrin Pitkin said. We have three or four games this week and coming back strong the first day sets the tone.
The Falcons, ranked No. 25 in the state in Class C, dropped to 12-4, 10-4. They are now three games back of C Division leader Sandy Creek with three left to play. The best South Lewis can do is finish in a tie for the division title if they win out and the Comets lose their remaining games.
(Pitkin) is a good pitcher and thats what well see in the sectionals, first-year South Lewis coach Dave Szalach said. It was a bad loss but we took away some good things from it, saw some good pitching. You try to get better from it.
Temperatures were in the low 40s with a strong wind that made it feel even colder.
Katie Pitkin, who scattered five hits and walked one batter, said the cold weather was a factor early in the game.
I struggled throwing a couple of my spin pitches in the beginning and they got some hits off me, but towards the end I got it warmed up and it wasnt a problem, Pitkin said.
Pitchers that throw several different pitches and the spin pitches, your wrist has got to be pretty flexible and nothing is flexible when its about 35-40 degrees out, Darrin Pitkin added.
South Lewis pitchers struggled with their control, hitting five batters and walking seven. But Szalach wouldnt use the cold as an explanation.
You still got to hit your spots and you got to be able to pitch, I dont blame (the cold). That certainly didnt affect the outcome at all.