By McClain Baxley
For the Forsyth County News
It took two innings for Denmark to find its rhythm against Fannin County on Tuesday, but once it did, it didn’t stop until they reached the mercy rule run limit in a five inning 9-1 win to improve to 2-0 on the young season.
The Danes found themselves on base with ease in the first inning via walks and multiple passed balls, but they were unable to score with a groundout to third ending the first frame.
Catcher Morgan Kilmer got the scoring started in the second inning with an RBI triple down the first base line.In the top of the third, Denmark once again showed their awareness and experience on defense as they caught a Rebel in a run down from first to second base.
Denmark coach David Smart was pleasantly surprised with how well the Danes’ defense played.
“I thought we did a really good job of throwing and catching tonight, we defended the ball really well, which is what we try to do,” Smart said. “We preach that religiously.”
The Danes backed up starting pitcher Taylor Gajdik and their defense in the third with more help from a struggling Rebel infield. Fannin pitcher Josilynn Newton struck out a batter before walking three straight to make it a 2-0 ballgame. A passed ball scored another run and loaded the bases.
With the bases still loaded with two outs, center fielder Kiersten Bell stole home add another run for Denmark.
The lone offensive threat from the Rebels came in the fourth inning. A pitch from Gajdik went astray and Fannin catcher Eryn Mealer launched the ball over the center field wall to end the shutout. Gajdik sat down the next three batters in order.
“I was really proud after that girl led off the inning with a home run and (Gajdik) came back in there and got three straight outs,” Smart said. “That shows her character and her tenacity. She could’ve folded the tent up and got out of there, but she didn't.”
Unfazed by the allowed run, Denmark began to slam the door on the visitors with another big hit from freshman Kayla Smith, who hit an RBI double.
Two pitches later, Smith stole third and then earned a run off of right fielder Emily Armstrong’s RBI single. Armstrong’s hit loaded the bases and made it a 6-1 game in favor of the home team.
“Our team is going to stick to hitting,” Gajdik said. “If it’s a tied game, it’s a 0-0 ballgame. It’s a brand new one and we’re going to stick to what we’re doing.”
Smith picked another RBI and then Bell hit a two run RBI single to kick the mercy run rule into action. Both of the Danes’ first two games of the season have been cut short by the mercy rule, with a combined 21-2 score. Gajdik started both of those games, but that workload hasn't weighed on her.
“I’m not tired at all,” she said. “I could probably go another 12 innings. The freshmen feed off our senior leadership that teaches the young girls what should be expected. If you strike out, don’t get down and just learn.”