Stow’s bats came alive and turned a tight pitchers duel into a rout Saturday evening in the Rock N Fire softball tournament at Firestone Stadium.
Three runs in the fifth inning and five more in the sixth provided the Bulldogs with a 10-1 victory over Archbishop Hoban, ending the game an inning early by the mercy rule.
Stow (10-5) held a 2-1 edge after four innings and managed just one hit against Hoban freshman right-hander Katie Clark.
From that point on, the Bulldogs’ offense brought some lethal bite, banging out seven hits and pushing across eight runs.
“Later in the game we kind of exploded,” said Stow coach Doug Hawkins. “The kids started seeing the ball a little bit better and we scored some runs.”
That also took some sting out of a late 6-5 loss to Canfield earlier in the day in Stow’s first game of the tournament. The Bulldogs have one more left at 10 a.m. today against Crestwood.
It was a long day of games at Firestone Stadium and the adjacent Pony Field. All of Friday’s scheduled games were washed out and played on Saturday, which resulted in 14 games on the two diamonds. Nine more games are scheduled for today.
It was a particularly long day for Hoban (4-8), which lost all three times it played, including earlier games against Eastwood and Canfield.
The Knights scored their lone run in the second against Stow junior right-hander Alyssa Ingram (4-2). Generally overshadowed by junior teammate Sadie Jones, Ingram has established herself as a worthy complement in the circle this season.
“Alyssa is just one those kids who comes in and gets the job done,” said Hawkins. “She fills in good for us. She’s got a nice rise ball and changes speeds real well. Just a good kid. Whatever you ask of her, she comes out and helps out.”
Ingram limited the Knights to five hits. She struck out three, walked one and registered six ground ball outs.
“We usually split every other game,” said Ingram, referring to Jones. “I like the way that is because we both get about the same amount of pitching time. We’re not pitching every single game and our arms don’t hurt and we’re better for the next game.”
Stow made it 2-0 in the second before getting its first hit. Kayla Esterle was hit by a pitch and stole second. Bekah Jones then walked and the runners pulled off a double steal.
Sara Schmidt’s sacrifice fly scored one, and a suicide squeeze bunt by Maria Bonfiglio brought in Jones, who eluded the attempted tag by Hoban third baseman Kate Boylan.
In Hoban’s half of the second, Alissa Younes singled and courtesy runner Marianne Dannemiller scored on a two-out double by Erin Gerity.
A two-out error extended the Stow fifth and the Bulldogs took full advantage. Landry Slider singled and then Jenni Heid tripled in two runs, scoring herself on Esterle’s single for a 5-1 lead.
Erin Kolke, Chrissie Vaughn, Slider and Esterle hit safely in a the five-run sixth.
“I don’t have an answer for what happened today,” said Hoban coach Bob Mosher. “We’re not hitting the ball, we’re making errors on defense, and our pitching is very, very sporadic. All phases of the game, we’re not real good right now.
“The girls have challenged each other to come back and get back on track so we can start doing the things we know we can do.”
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