HANOVERTON -Following the first inning of the South Range Raiders 15-0 victory over United on Monday afternoon, South Range coach Don Feren wasn't pleased with what he saw.
"First inning, we went 1-2-3 and I said, 'Hey our level has dropped five levels from what we were playing at down there (Myrtle Beach),'" Feren said. "They picked it up as the game went on. For us to have the type of season that we want, we need to play at that upper level all of the time."
Whatever hangover that the Raiders (4-1, 1-0 in the Inter-Tri County League upper tier) may have been shaking off from their return on Friday from a stint of games in Myrtle Beach, S.C., had little effect as the innings wore on against the Eagles.
South Range tacked on a pair of runs in the second and third innings before blowing things open in the fourth with a five run outburst.
"I thought we were a little rough from coming back on Friday, we hadn't done anything over the weekend, but we needed to pick up a level a bit," Feren said. "We hit the ball pretty well tonight. You can't take anyone for granted because that's when teams will jump on you."
Feren and the Raiders want to carry over momentum from a trip that saw them go 3-1 against stiff competition in the Carolinas. Against an overmatched United team on Monday, the Raiders tacked on six more in the seventh to widen their margin.
SR: 0-2-2-5-0-0-6 -15-10-0
UN: 0-0-0-0-0-0-0 - 0-3-3
SR -Darrian Yanek wp (7IP, 3H, 0R, 7K, 0B) and Sarah Morretti
UN -Kierstin Fillman lp (7IP, 10H, 15R, 4K, 6BB) and Cortnee Bailey
"It's good because we play teams that we've never even heard of," South Range senior Darrian Yanek said. "Teams around here, we have been growing up around and we know them, I think that's probably the coolest part of those games."
Yanek took the win for the Raiders on the mound, going seven inning without allowing any runs and scattering three hits. Yanek struck out seven and didn't issue a free pass.
"I'm more of a junk ball pitcher," Yanek said. "I rely on my curve or my screwball or changeup - tonight mostly my changeup," Yanek said. "I think we need to keep that same mentality like we had down there, like we are playing those Division I schools."
This was the third trip in as many years that the Raiders have made the trip south, but the first for both the J.V. and varsity clubs. Road trips are often a setting where teams can learn about eachother and grow together, for the Raiders it was no different.
"We group them as varsity and J.V., so a lot of those J.V. players, even though they may know each other, it's the first time they've actually had to live with each other," Feren said. "It makes them work through things and learn how to deal with eachother not just on a softball field but over all."
Building team chemistry will help keep South Range mentally focused throughout this upcoming season, and the Raiders echoed their coach's sentiment about taking each opponent seriously.
"It's very mental because if you come to a game thinking 'we played them before and beat them, and slack off, you never know what can happen," South Range senior Carly DeRose. "The other team can come out and play hard and beat you just because you're not mentally prepared and you're not playing like every play matters."
Kiersten Fillman took the loss for United. She pitched the complete game, allowing 13 earned runs on 10 hits. South Range and United are back in action today at South Range.
South Range's Carly DeRose will be playing softball at Slippery Rock next spring. The senior pitcher made her decision in November and signed during the early signing period.
"The campus is amazing, the campus really won me over," DeRose said. "Everyone there is one big family, the coaches are younger so they get along with the players well and they make you feel like you are at home."
DeRose will continue to pitch at South Range. She compiled 49 strikeouts in 23 innings in Myrtle Beach.
While in South Carolina, the Raiders' Darrian Yanek connected on her first home run of the season. Her family made the trip to Myrtle Beach while the team was there and was in the stands when Yanek's homer sailed over the fence.
"My dad was watching and so was my mom, so that was probably one of the best memories that I've had down there," Yanek said. "All the families are down there, and there's a big nice cheering section and everyone is cheering for you, it's just awesome."