XENIA — Only two pitches into their Senior Night game, a pair of Lady Bucs swiftly made it a memorable occasion.
Following a leadoff double by Makyna Carr, the first pitch thrown to Jada McAvene was belted out for a home run.
“The coolest,” McAvene said. “First pitch, first at bat. It was a way to get the team going for sure.”
The two-run blast set the tone for the evening as Xenia run-ruled visiting Stebbins 16-1.
It was the second home run hit this year by McAvene, who is batting .451 near the top of the order.
“It was just the second time that’s happened since I’ve been here,” head coach John Miner said of McAvene’s Senior Night homer. “Her goal for her senior season was just to hit a home run and now she has two. I’m sure her family is real happy and having a good time too.”
McAvene played as a sophomore but did not last year as a junior. Returning this season, she also has thrown 50 innings, compiling a 5-2 record with one save, an ERA under 4.00 and 20 strikeouts. She primarily has played second base when not in the circle, where she has a .971 fielding percentage against only one error.
She said Senior Night festivities can bring a bit of sadness that time is nearing an end, having already experienced one in the fall for volleyball. She also sees it as a reason to be happy about having a chance to return to the diamond.
“Every game I play, I regret not playing last year,” McAvene said. “That’s how good it is and how good it feels. So I just try to make the most of every single game I play and leave everything I have out on the field. We only have five games left. So it’s kind of a big deal.”
In fact, all three of Xenia’s senior regulars, which includes Logan Harlow along with Carr, have been key to the team’s success. The trio are hitting over .400 and have combined for 69 runs scored and 42 RBI.
In total, all six of the team’s seniors, the others made up of Jayden Clark, Aaliyah Grooms and Morgan Ferrell, got action against Stebbins on Tuesday.
“I want to get seniors out there,” Miner said. “Get everybody involved with the seniors as the game progressed and hopefully the scoreboard was where it needed to be, which it was to where we could do that to include everybody in the fun and not have to be so serious every now and then about things. You’ve got to have fun too.”
The fun win improved Xenia to 11-7 overall and 9-5 in the MVL, sitting one game back of Fairborn in the standings.
A six-game countdown to the end of the season and a potential battle for a league title began on Monday and Xenia has started that stretch with two consecutive wins.
Xenia and Fairborn are scheduled to meet in the final two league games of the season and Miner hopes his team receives some assistance from Fairborn’s other league opponents to keep his team close.
“If we don’t get the help, we just got to win out and do what we can do and play our game and see what happens,” Miner said. “Maybe the softball Gods will shine upon us along with everything else. We are hitting the ball and the way the defense was playing today will just carry itself forward and if can finish the season up that way would be good til we get in the playoffs.”