COPLEY — Joy, excitement and a deep sense of relief were the emotions after the first victory of the season for Archbishop Hoban's softball team Wednesday.
An exclamation of "We won!" rang out when the last out was recorded in an 11-9 win over Copley.
It was surprising, too, that it would come in the Knights' eighth game since they are typically among the most successful local teams.
"We've been a very good team, a strong team," senior captain and third baseman Allyssa Hagenbaugh said. "But last year, we lost a lot of seniors. We lost six of them.
"So it was really hard to have some sophomores and some freshmen come in. But they've been playing really well for us and they just need to learn the varsity level."
Hagenbaugh, one of only two seniors on the team, led the way Wednesday. She had three hits, scored three runs and drove in four, most notably a three-run homer — her first of the year — that turned a one-run lead into an 11-7 advantage in the fifth inning.
Her run-scoring single was part of a five-run second inning that put the Knights up 6-3, a lead they maintained until the end.
Sophomore Maggie Rumler's two-run homer — also her first — was the big blow of the inning. Both home runs were well struck over the left field fence, but were partly helped by a steady breeze blowing in that direction.
"I still think we can have a good year," Hagenbaugh said. "This definitely started something for us."
Coach Frank Voss, who led the Knights to state tournament appearances in 2016 and 2017, said he didn't expect the first win wouldn't occur until the eighth game.
"It happens," he said. "We're kind of rebuilding. Hopefully, the bats can stay alive the rest of the season."
The Knights smacked 14 hits, led by sophomore Caylie Quarles, senior Jessica Knicely and Rumler with two apiece. Quarles scored three times.
"The hitting is something we've been lacking," Voss said. "I think that's one of the keys. But we were 0-7. It's hitting, pitching, defense. It was everything."
Sophomore Regina Demechko (1-4) pitched the first three innings, and junior Lily Botos went the last four for her first save.
Copley (3-5) scored two runs in the seventh but the rally fell short as the Indians lost their third in a row.
Freshman pitcher Cassie Bauer (2-4) hit two doubles. Senior Emily Reese drove in three runs with a two-run single in the first and RBI single in the seventh.
"I think my squad is a little tired," Copley coach John Virgin said. "They mentally made some mistakes that they normally don't. We didn't play a clean game. You need to play clean games.
"Some base-running blunders cost us some opportunities. But you've got to give [Hoban] credit. They did what they needed to do and they get the 'W.' "