NAVARRE: The Archbishop Hoban softball team took lessons to heart.
Struggling through the early portion of the season, the Knights righted themselves playing in the North Coast League, which annually produces some of the state’s top teams.
The Knights (13-14) are playing their best ball of the season at the best time, as demonstrated in their 1-0 win over Fairless (16-10) Tuesday in a Navarre Division II district semifinal.
“In the first part of the season, we were getting up pretty bad, but we got the girls to start doing things and we beat Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin and Holy Name,” Knights coach Bob Mosher said. “Everything we have done has prepared us for the tournament.”
Kate Boylan did it both as a hitter and on the mound, giving the Knights the lone run of the game with a single to left center, scoring Caitlin Constance.
“Being in the North Coast League has been incredibly helpful,” Boylan said. “We are also much more dedicated this year.”
Using her screwball and riseball, Boylan, a sophomore, held the Falcons to just two hits and ended the game with her fifth strikeout in the seventh inning, stranding the tying run at third.
The defensive play of the game came in the second inning from center fielder Marianne Dannemiller, whose throw from center field to third baseman Allisa Younes cut down Jessica Kennedy trying to go from first to third on a single, ending the inning.
“Usually you know when you throw it whether or not it is going to hit the target. Right when I let go I watched it and it went right into her mitt,” Dannemiller said.
Springfield 5, Northwest 1
Coach Roger Errington constantly reminds his Spartans of the school’s tradition in softball.
“We did tell the kids to look at their uniform; that says it all. Nine state championships; have some fun and play with some pride and confidence,” Errington said.
The Spartans have a history of great pitching and some outstanding hitters. Junior first baseman Sarah Stubbs filled the latter role, belting a towering two-run home run well over the center field fence, which is 215 feet from the plate, in the bottom of the fifth. It gave the Spartans a 4-1 lead and demoralized the Indians.
“I knew it was out when I hit it,” Stubbs said. “I was 0-for-2 because I was [swinging] early, so I just sat back and waited for it.”
“That was critical,” Errington said. “She [Stubbs] has been pressing all year, but we have confidence in her.”
Though she admitted she gets nervous, pride and poise were demonstrated by Quartni Whited both on the mound and at bat.
With the Spartans clinging to a 2-1 lead, the Indians rallied with two outs in the top of the fifth inning with back-to-back singles by Rachel de Guia and Jordan Bowman, putting runners on first and third. Whited then got Erika Juersivich to take a called third strike to squash the rally, much to the designated player’s shock as she jumped back from what she thought was a ball.
“It was pretty important at that point because it was pretty intense and you just want to get that next batter out,” Whited said.
Whited gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a double to center field, scoring Kylie Begue. The Spartans went ahead 2-0 in the second when Brittany Alkna scored on consecutive wild pitches.
The Indians cut the lead to 2-1 in the third when Begue singled and eventually scored on a triple by de Guia. Whited ended the threat by getting Bowman to hit a line drive back to the pitcher.
Hoban plays Springfield at 5 tonight for the district championship.
Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps.