Berks Catholic pitcher and Shippensburg commit Dani Hayward

When Dani Hayward is off the field, she enjoys reading and drawing.  When she's on the mound, however, the Berks Catholic senior is an intense competitor.  Hayward threw a complete game with eleven strikeouts in the Saints' 3-2 victory over Hamburg on Tuesday.  The (17-3, 10-1) Hawks are #1 in the District 3-4A power rankings.  They beat Berks Catholic 4-2 one month ago.  "It was a really big game. We've lost the past couple [games] and going into County's, we needed some confidence," Hayward told SV Sports' Paul Roberts.  The Shippensburg commit allowed one earned run on five hits and three walks.  Hamburg had the tying run on second base in the 7th with no outs.  Hayward struck out the next two batters before intentionally walking Drexel commit Kylah Reading.  She holds the Hawks' career records for batting average, hits, runs, steals, home runs, and RBI.  Hamburg had runners on second and third when Hayward struck out Jacksonville University commit Hailey Strunk to end the drama.  She surpassed 500 strikeouts earlier this season.  "It was really surreal," said Hayward.  The future civil engineering major is up to an astounding 589 career punch outs.  Giana Mirenda provided all of the offense that the (13-5, 9-2) Saints would need.  The junior center fielder launched a three-run homer to left off of Strunk in the third inning.  Berks Catholic won its first BCIAA championship a season ago as the #6 seed.  "That was insane. We worked together really well as a team and clicked in the right moments. It was really cool," remarked Hayward.  The Berks County playoffs begin on Saturday with a loaded field that includes Wilson, Exeter, Twin Valley, Kutztown, and Hamburg.  Hayward is looking forward to the postseason.  "I think it's really good to have good competition because it brings you up to their level," she said.


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