The Oak Hill catcher led off the Raider half of the inning with a triple. That sparked an early lead for Oak Hill and gave the pitching and defense enough runs to work with.

“I definitely think getting that first hit got everybody going,” said Oak Hill pitcher Makayla Nadeau. “She hit and then everybody hit. It was like a domino effect.”

The Raiders jumped out to the quick 2-0 lead on Monmouth. From there, Nadeau and the defense behind her did the rest in a 3-1 MVC softball win over the Mustangs.

“That’s been our strength this season,” said Oak Hill coach Allyson Collins, referring to her team’s pitching and defense. “Our bats are just starting to come around in the last couple of games. So we’ve been depending on our defense, but finally, it’s all coming together.”

Nadeau pitched a four-hitter and struck out nine for the Raiders (6-1). Nadeau also had two hits, scored once and drove in a run.

“She pitched a fantastic game,” Collins said. “She hung in there for us. She gave us ground balls. She gave us strikeouts. That’s all you can ask for.”

Oak Hill has won five straight and outscored opponents 60-9 with four shutouts. The Raiders defense was superb. Shortstop Brooke Surette made a nice backhanded reaching catch on a liner. Grace Sabine excelled with the glove at first and Hlister was a standout behind the plate. Just about every Raider fielder made a play and didn’t give the Mustangs much opportunity.

“Everybody was in the game today,” Nadeau said. “Everybody came to win and came into the game knowing we needed to win and needed to stay focused.”

It was another hard-fought loss for the Mustangs (1-4), which have dropped three straight. Monmouth has lost three starters to injury in Haylee Langlois, Sarah Scott and Katie Canning.

“It was a stellar defensive effort, missing all the people that we’re missing,” Monmouth coach Dave Kaplan said. “We’ve got four JV players in the game. It was a superb effort. I’m very pleased with these kids. This is a very solid Class B 6-1 club and to stay with them today. I’m real happy.”

Emily Chasse pitched a fine game for the Mustangs. She allowed just five hits, struck out two and walked none. It was two hits in the first that allowed the Raiders to build the 2-0 lead.

“We hit the ball hard but it was right at people,” Collins said. “Hannah Anderson took a bunch of hits away today (at third). She’s a great fielder. When the hits didn’t fall, you just have to lean back on the pitching and the defense.”

After Hlister opened the game with a triple, she scored on a Jamie Prue fielder’s choice. Prue then advanced on an error and scored on a Nadeau single.

The Raiders had hits from Makayla Nadeau, Charlotte Waterman and Hannah Nadeau but was only able to score another run in the third. Makayla Nadeau tripled and scored on a wild pitch.

Monmouth got hits from Tia Day and Emily Kaplan in the first but didn’t get another hit until the fifth, a Mikayla Cameron double. The Mustangs’ biggest threat came in the sixth when Day walked. Kaplan reached on a fielder’s choice and later scored on an Anderson single. Nadeau labored a bit more that inning but dug deep and finished strong. She produced a strikeout to end the threat in the sixth and then struck out the side in the seventh to end it.

“I definitely felt like I just had to not think about it and just throw and do my thing,” Nadeau said. “I did get a little rattled in the sixth, but going into the seventh, I knew I had to come back and throw like I know I can throw and throw like I did in the first couple of innings.”

It was another encouraging effort, despite the loss, for the Mustangs. Monmouth got some fine pitching and defense and was only a couple of key hits shy.

“The defense is getting more solid now and we’re starting to hit,” Kaplan said. “We got to Makayla a few times today with some good hits. We just have to solidify the lineup.”

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