It took a week longer than expected, but Randy Larrick joined the softball coaching fraternity’s “400 Club” as John Glenn High rolled to a 15-2 five-inning victory over injury-riddle host Cambridge on Thursday.
After picking up No. 399 last Wednesday, the Lady Muskies fell on tough times against quality opposition and lost five games in a row, meaning the post-game celebration cake was put in the freezer for quite a while.
It was finally time to “let them eat cake” as John Glenn pounded out 17 hits against Cambridge, with all nine starters getting into the offensive act, a feat that had Larrick beaming ear-to-ear.
“As a coach, that’s what you love to see,” he said, referring to the well-rounded attack.
Larrick met No. 400 with both a sense of relief and considerable emotion.
“In all honesty, we’ve faced some tremendous competition in the last five ballgames and we just didn’t play well enough to beat them,” he said. “Our expectations are probably a little higher than they should be, but you have to have those and hopefully in the second half of the season we’ll catch up to some of those teams.”
Larrick’s thoughts on reaching the milestone?
“I’ve said it before, but I’ve had great assistant coaches to develop the kids and I’ve had absolutely fantastic kids to work with,” he continued. “This group is no exception. I hope I don’t ever do anything that ruins their enthusiasm for the game.”
John Glen (7-6) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Kerrie Dolick singled; stole second and moved to third on a passed ball before scoring on an RBI single by her sister, Lauren.
Erin Shade then followed with a booming two-run home run to left.
Cambridge (2-8) cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the first. Lexy Baker reached on an infield hit; moved up when Mariah Newman reached on a fielder’s choice-error and scored on an RBI single by Brittany Berger. Vanessa Patterson then drove in the Newman with an RBI groundout.
The floodgates opened in the second frame for the Lady Muskies, who sent 10 batters to the plate and scored six times on six hits. Kerrie Dolick delivered the big shot, a three-run triple, while Lauren Dolick had an RBI groundout; Katlyn Wagner cracked an RBI double and Kate Bass had an RBI single as the lead ballooned to 9-2.
JGHS tacked on four more in the third inning. A double by Taylor Potts got things started followed by consecutive singles from Lydia Phillips, Teresa Kuhns and Kerrie Dolick, with Kuhns and Dolick driving in runs. Lauren Dolick got another RBI on a groundout and Shade had an RBI single to push the lead to 13-2.
The Lady Muskies closed the scoring with two tallies in the fourth as MacKenzie Prater and Potts both singled; Hunter Baker reached on an error that allowed a run to score and Kuhns collected another RBI single.
Shade finished with a home run, two singles and three RBI while Kerrie Dolick had a triple, two singles and four RBI. Potts collected a double and single while Prater, Phillips and Kuhns each had two singles.
Lauren Dolick (4-4) got the pitching win, working the first three innings with four strikeouts and one walk before Kate Bass took over the in the fourth and notched two Ks.
Patterson (2-4) took the loss for the Cambridge with one strikeout and two walks.
Baker and Berger each had two singles to lead the Lady Bobcats.
Cambridge coach Bob Shepard, who finds his team facing a great deal of adversity with a rash of injuries in recent days that has resulted in several junior varsity players being forced into action, offered kudos to Larrick.
“We want to congratulate Randy for his accomplishment,” said Shepard. “There’s a reason he’s a Hall of Fame coach...he works hard and deserves all the accolades he receives.
“He’s a class act and he showed that today in how he handled things late in the game,” the CHS coach added.
Of his team’s trials and tribulations, Shepard took the “it is what it is” approach to a tough situation.
“The kids played as tough as they could, but we’re facing a lot of injuries right now,” he said. “We’ve never had this many injuries at one time. We had one go down Monday and two more Wednesday and we’ve also lost our second pitcher, so that’s basically half of our starting lineup. We had three kids making their first start today, so we’re just going to have to fight through this and hopefully get some of them back healthy.”