BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — Three games, three home runs.
To say it’s been a powerful start to Danielle Schriner’s junior softball season would be an understatement.
Through the Panthers’ first three games, Schriner has gone 6-for-11 at the plate with three runs scored and six RBI and, yes, a home run in each game.
“They were all three no-doubters – she hit them hard,” said Maumee coach Jones. “She’s worked hard on her swing, at least the last three or four years.
“What a great kid, she always has a smile on her face. Every time she came around third base with her home runs, she just looked at me and smiled and I loved it.”
Jones worked with Schriner on her swing back in middle school, and he remembers telling her to get her lower body into her swing. He knew once that adjustment clicked, hitting for power wouldn’t be a problem.
“She has worked so hard in the offseason,” Jones said. “Every time we’re doing hitting practice off of the tee, you can tell she’s concentrating on getting her lower body into it, and it’s finally paying off.”
Schriner hasn’t been the only Maumee player to succeed at the plate. Through three games, the Panthers have collected 37 hits and 26 runs. They’re 1-2 after losing the season-opener at Sandusky Perkins, 15-9, and splitting a doubleheader at Central Catholic, losing 9-8 and winning 9-8.
In Saturday’s doubleheader, Peyton Phillips went 3-for-8 with two doubles, scoring four runs and driving in one in both games. Junior Haley Hughes went 5-for-5 with a double, three runs and an RBI in the win.
“We hit the ball hard off of their good pitching, we just had a couple of blunders,” Jones said. “We’re still young and it’s still early, so I’m not going to lose too much sleep off of that.”
Seeing Schriner and her teammates work on their craft and succeed has been a definite positive for Jones and his staff.
“As a coach, it makes you feel good that they’re listening, and obviously you’re telling them the right things,” he said. “Usually they don’t understand it until they feel it. Once they feel it, they can understand it, and once they understand it, they can have confidence in it.”
In both losses, Jones can point to two innings separating the Panthers from being 3-0 after their first week. They allowed seven runs in the second inning against Perkins and Central rallied with a walk-off sacrifice fly to win the first game of the doubleheader.
“The best thing I love about this team is they don’t give up,” Jones said. “Sometimes they get down on themselves and other players pick them up. I saw great senior leadership (on Saturday). We had a couple of girls make mistakes, and I saw Peyton and Julia walk right over and say, ‘Hey, you’re OK, we’ve got this.’”
The Panthers have relied on a pair of sophomores in the pitching circle. Hailey Yarberry has thrown 9.2 innings, allowing 13 earned runs with nine strikeouts. Josie Brooks has pitched 11 innings with seven earned runs on 12 hits and four walks with 12 strikeouts.