Fagioli, Hawks top Eagles in region softball opener

HOSCHTON — Thanks to the rainy weather, Mill Creek didn’t have the planned six fastpitch softball games behind it prior to the Region 7-AAAAAA opener with rival Collins Hill.

It had just one.

That lack of action against in-game pitching, coupled with Collins Hill’s proven pitchers, had Mill Creek coach Roger Parham concered about the Hawks’ bats in Tuesday night’s matchup. But he felt much better afterward.

Kenzer Fagioli had three hits and three RBIs, Hannah Adams had two hits and an RBI and the hosts defeated Collins Hill 6-1 in the first game of region play.

“We only played one game when we should have played six by now,” Parham said. “It’s just been rain, rain, rain. We haven’t seen live pitching. We’ve just been in the cage every day.”

The Hawks (1-1) got three runs in the second inning and three more in the sixth, defeating Collins Hill (2-1) for the first time since the 2011 season, when the teams split six games and the Eagles won the last for the state title.

The rivalry was renewed early this season.

“I think it’s an awesome boost, especially after a hard loss to Buford (last week),” Fagioli said. “This is exactly what we needed to go into our region schedule. … This is all we could have imagined out of our first (region) game.”

Emily Robertson got the Hawks’ first rally going with an infield single, then a pair of Collins Hill miscues on bunts kept the second inning going. Sarah Peery reached base on the first and then with two outs, Christina Evans’ popped up bunt was nearly the third out, but three Eagle players collided and the ball dropped to load the bases.

Adams made the visitors pay, beating out an infield single for an RBI and a 1-0 lead. Fagioli then delivered the decisive blow with a two-run single for a 3-0 edge.

That was a nice cushion for winning pitcher Heather Felt, who cruised until the fifth inning when walks and an RBI double from Collins Hill’s pitcher, Amanda Chance, chased her from the game. Chance’s hit was one of just three by Collins Hill.

Freshman Skylar Hayward got out of the jam with a double play and finished the final 2 1/3 innings for the save. She allowed one hit and Felt gave up only two.

“I thought Heather threw great and set the tempo early,” Parham said. “And for Skylar to do what she did as a freshman against Collins Hill was big.”

Mill Creek got its cushion in the sixth inning, that was kick-started when Kaylyn Anthony was hit by a pitch and Evans reached on an infield single. A throwing error plated the Hawks’ fourth run before Fagioli drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Morgan Bell added an RBI single.

The big lead allowed Mill Creek to have a more relaxing seventh inning to finish off its region-opening win.

“All of the games in our region are big,” Parham said. “Traditionally, Collins Hill is the cream of the crop so it’s nice to come out and get that first win.”