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Sara Lowman's walkoff lifts Keystone Wildcats over North Royalton Bears
Freshman Sara Lowman capped off an 11-pitch at-bat in the bottom of the seventh inning with a walk-off single to left, giving Keystone a 4-3 non-conference win over North Royalton at LaGrange Community Park on Friday.
“We’re young and we are learning,” Keystone coach Jim Piazza said. “It’s not pretty sometimes, but we are learning how to win. That’s the (mark) of a good team is learning how to win.
“These games are learning experience games. These aren’t do-or-die games. Those are in two weeks. I give our kids of a lot credit for coming in and regrouping ... it really paid off.”
Holding a 3-2 lead, Keystone (12-3) saw North Royalton (5-4) tie the game in the top of the seventh inning. Undaunted the Wildcats responded quickly in the bottom of the seventh.
Destiny Weber led off the inning with a double to left-center. A single by Megan McNulty was followed by a walk by Carleigh Herrington.
After a line-out, Lowman came to the plate. The at-bat proved to be adventurous for Lowman. Besides fouling off pitches with two strikes, she also rolled her ankle after a long foul ball. She was down for a few minutes before getting back up and stepping back into the box. With a tender ankle and the game on the line, Lowman delivered with a long fly ball which landed at the base of the left field fence to score Weber for the walk-off win.
“I was thinking I’ve just got to do this,” Lowman said. “I don’t care whether it was a hard shot through the infield or a pop-up to the outfield. I needed to get another run in.
“I just thought hit it hard. When I rolled my ankle at first I thought I was going to be done. I swung harder than I ever have before. I just wanted to kill the ball.”
Lowman wasn’t the only freshman to contribute to the Wildcats’ win. In her first varsity game, freshman Jessica Archer (two singles) gave Keystone a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning with a single to right.
Though the Bears tied it in the top of the fifth inning, Nicole Neri broke the deadlock with a single to left-center and score Weber. From her leadoff position, Weber was outstanding, reaching base three times. She had a pair of hits and scored a pair of runs.
“I’m actually excited that I get to start things off,” Weber said. “I know whether I get on or not, my teammates will pick me up and push me through it.”
Besides being the hitting heroine, Lowman was outstanding in the pitcher’s circle. Thanks to some outstanding defense behind her, she allowed three runs and four hits. She scattered four hits, improving to 5-1.
In other games Elyria scored three times in the top of the sixth inning to defeat Walsh Jesuit, 4-1. Alexis Roseboro started things off with a single. She scored on Marie Masters’ triple. Masters scored on an error, while Alex Dick scored on a fielder’s choice.
Caitlyn Minney gave up a lead-off homer, but it was the only hit she gave up. She struck out six in earning the win.
In a collision between the No. 1 ranked teams in Division I and III in Ohio, North Canton Hoover defeated Bloom Carroll 1-0. University of Washington recruit sophomore Taran Alvelo struck out 10, but took the loss. Sylvania Southview defeated Twinsburg, 8-5 and Brecksville defeated Poland Seminary 1-0.
Games resume today at 10:00 a.m. Elyria faces North Canton Hoover, while Keystone will face off against Bishop Hartley.
Keystone 4, North Royalton 3
North Royalton (5-4) 010 100 1 — 3 4 0
Keystone (12-3) 000 210 1 — 4 10 1
TWO HITS OR MORE — North Royalton: Katie Newman; Keystone: Destiny Weber, Jessica Archer; 2B — K: Weber; WP — Sara Lowman (5-1); LP — Nikki Newman
Last Updated: 4/27/2013 12:02:56 PM EST