West Orange junior pitcher Kelsey Morrison went 4-for-4 and drove in two runs in the top of the eighth inning Wednesday to lead the No. 5 Warriors to a 3-0 win over Boone in a Class 8A region quarterfinal.
Morrison doubled in the fourth inning and finished the night by holding Boone hitless over the final three innings. The Tennessee commit recorded eight strikeouts in all, relying on her change-up much of the way after allowing seven hits through the opening five innings.
“As the game goes on she gets better and better with being able to spot her pitches,” West Orange coach Todd Laneave said. “The one thing I did tonight with calling her pitches was not go to the change-up too early.”
West Orange stranded runners on third base in the fourth and seventh innings as they struggled to make contact against the Braves.
Boone’s Chase Cassady was superb much of the night, finishing with 12 strikeouts while keeping the majority of her innings short before West Orange let loose in the extra frame.
It started when Kendal Arcia drew a walk out of the ninth spot in the lineup for the Warriors. Once Michaela Hynes reached safely on a shot to right field with one out, Marysloan Bradford beat out a throw to first on a bunt to load the bases.
Sabrina Stutsman’s pop out to centerfield scored Arcia and Morrison tacked on two more runs with a hard-hit grounder to center for a single with two down.
Morrison then made easy work of the 5-6-7 batters in the Boone lineup by striking out the first, catching a line drive from the second, and forcing a foul tip on the final at-bat that was handled cleanly along the first base line by Amanda Nikhazy.
“Early in the game we had some opportunities but we couldn’t seem to get a runner on to start an inning, and that was huge for Kendal to get up there and draw a walk,” Laneave said. “That kind of opens things up for us and really gets the momentum of the girls going. They executed when they needed to from there.”
Boone stranded 10 runners in the loss and was unable to score with bases loaded in the first inning. The best chance at generating a run from there came in the bottom of the seventh when Kat Nelson made her way to third on a passed ball.
West Orange outhit Boone 8-7 after reaching base on four hits in the final two innings.
The Warriors visit No. 13 Apopka on Tuesday at 7 p.m. for a rematch of a district title game that went 12 innings last week.