Pine Creek's softball team is looking to accomplish big things this season, and it got off to a dominating start Wednesday night.
The Eagles - expected to be one of the best Class 5A teams in the city, and state - finally took the field for the first time in 2013, defeating 4A Air Academy 9-0.
The hitting was good for Pine Creek; the pitching was better. Senior starter Haylee McKeehan pitched five innings, giving up only one hit while striking out eight.
"I think we were all a little nervous at the beginning, but we are happy with how we played," McKeehan said. "It allows me to relax a lot more and not be so tense out there when my teammates can score a bunch of runs like that."
Leading the charge on offense for Pine Creek was junior Anne Carberry, who went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, including a two-run triple in the fourth inning.
After the Eagles' offense scored two runs off of Air Academy errors in the first inning, it didn't get much going in the second or third. That all changed when Genevieve Ujlaky drilled a bases-loaded single in the fourth to make it 5-0. Carberry would line a triple into the gap to score two more and blow the game open at 7-0.
"Our bats were shaky in the first couple of innings, but once we got hot we just kept going and I'm really proud of how everyone picked it up," Carberry said. "Big hits like we had tonight are game-changers."
Outside of the offensive explosion for six runs in the fourth inning, Pine Creek's bats weren't consistent enough for coach David Warhoe's liking.
"Overall we didn't hit the ball very well; we had some key hits, but they made some errors, which allowed us to score and this game was closer than 9-0," said Warhoe, who was very happy with his starting pitcher's performance. "Haylee is awesome, and she's one of the better pitchers in the state and right now she's really throwing well."
The young Kadets battled hard throughout, even after the game became lopsided. Air Academy coach Chris Hernez says with a new coaching staff and several new players, it's going to take a little time to jell.
"We haven't all been together very long, and we've had a lot of practices canceled, so I was encouraged by what I saw today," he said. "We were competitive for more than half of the game today against what will probably be the best team we face all season."