DOVER — It was every Henlopen Conference hitter’s worst nightmare.
The Blue all-stars started the game with Woodbridge High’s Hailey Andrews and her sizzling fastball in the circle.
Then, after Andrews and Delmar’s Alexis Layton surrendered just one single in six innings, the Blue got to throw Laurel star Regan Green in the circle as its closer.
All Green did was strike out all nine batters she faced to put the finishing touches on a masterful pitching performance as the Blue blanked the Gold, 5-0, in the Blue-Gold All-Star Softball Game on Wednesday night at Dover Little League.
Andrews, Layton and Green allowed just one Gold hit while striking out a remarkable 21 batters in the nine-inning contest.
And it’s not like the Gold pitchers were bad, either. Padua’s Olivia Ellis, Smyrna’s Sydney Botsch and Polytech’s Shaina Reed combined for 14 strikeouts themselves.
That means, of the 54 outs in the contest, 35 came by strikeout. The game lasted just one hour and 55 minutes.
“The three of them all together — Hailey, Alexis and Regan — those three just throw it so well,” said Archmere’s Dan Pisani, one of the Blue coaches. “Hailey opens the game just throwing gas and then Regan closes it throwing the same way. I can’t imagine playing in that conference and to play all those girls throughout the year.”
On Wednesday, Green was just coming back from freshman orientation at Mississippi State, where she’ll be attending school in the fall. But she made it back in time to smack an RBI double and score a run in the first inning.
“It’s my last game ever playing in Delaware so I just wanted to have fun with it,” said Green, who went 2-for-3 at the plate. “There wasn’t any pressure. Everyone did great.
“It’s in the back of my mind,” Green said about finishing the contest wiith nine straight strikeouts. “I just don’t concentrate on that the whole time. It’s nice but I just wanted to try to win the game and be there for my team.
“I’m not really focused on the strikeout as much as I am focused on getting that out somewhere or another.”
Andrews already had a 2-0 lead when she took the field in the bottom of the first.
Delmar’s Ashton Riddle (3-for-3, 2 runs), the Blue MVP, started the game with a single and scored on Green’s double. Concord’s Jess Fyock then followed with an RBI double of her own.
Andrews did give up a pair of walks, but struck out eight — including the last four batters she faced.
“I liked it — to get it out of the way,” she said about being the starting pitcher. “The other team had good hitters so I had to throw my pitches and hit my spots. I had a good defense behind me.
“It’s fun but bittersweet a little bit,” said Andrews, who is headed for Indian River (Fla.) State College. “I’m moving on to college.”
The Gold got its only hit in the fourth when Reed lined a single up the middle. The former Polytech standout, who pitched three perfect innings with three strikeouts to finish the game, was named the Gold MVP.
Reed knew hits would probably by difficult to come by considering how many quality pitchers were in the game.
“They had a lot of good pitchers,” she said about the Blue. “I didn’t know how it was going to go. They’re really good, all three of them.”
The Blue added two more runs in the fifth when Lake Forest’s Catherine Betts and Riddle both singled and scored when Delmar’s Shelby Murphy dropped a two-run single into short left field.
In the sixth, Wilmington Charter’s Erin Anderson tripled to right and came all the way around to score when the ball was bobbled.
The Blue’s 5-0 advantage was certainly in pretty good hands when Green entered the game in the seventh. Since nobody put the ball in play against her, all she really needed was a catcher.
While Wednesday’s game was for fun, softball will get much more serious for Green when she gets to Mississippi State and the SEC.
“I know around here I get lackadaisical sometimes,” she said. “I have to remind myself to push. The competition is great around here but it’s better when you get out and face the best hitters in the country.”
Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached
at 741-8227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.