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Elyria Pioneers still reign atop Northeast Ohio Conference with win vs. Strongsville Mustangs
MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Elyria’s Caitlyn Minney gets ready to deliver a pitch against Strongsville in the sixth inning in Elyria on Wednesday.
MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Elyria’s Alexis Roseboro collides with Strongsville’s Hallie Mach as she slides safely into home in the fifth inning in Elyria on Wednesday.
MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Elyria's Alexis Roseboro gets a hit during the bottom of the fifth inning in Elyria on Wednesday.
MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Elyria's Marie Masters crosses the plate safely in the bottom of the fifth inning in Elyria on Wednesday.
The Pioneers’ offense continued their hot hitting. They also played solid defense and got great pitching en route to an impressive 9-1 Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division win over Strongsville on Wednesday. The win keeps Elyria atop of the Valley Division with two games left.
“This is the time you hope you are playing your best,” Elyria Coach Ken Fenik said. “I can honestly say we are playing our best right now. The sticks have been alive the past week and a half. That’s what you need. We have been doing a lot of extra hitting work and that’s helped.”
It didn’t take long for the Elyria’s (19-5, 7-1) bats to came to life against Strongsville (10-8, 4-4). Patty Davis started off the Pioneers’ second inning with a triple to right field. She scored on Alexis Roseboro’s single to center. After a single by Carly Bachna, Holly Howser laid down a nice sacrifice bunt to advance the runners.
The plan was executed to perfection with Caitlyn Minney lacing a single to left-center, scoring Roseboro and Bachna and give Elyria a 3-0 lead.
Known for being aggressive on the base paths, the Pioneers brought it to the forefront in the third inning. MacKenzie Phares, who was on second base, ended up scoring after a throw from left field missed it mark.
The aggressiveness of the bases continued with Elyria scoring four more times in the bottom of the fifth inning on only two hits.
Haley Looney, who doubled to start the inning, ended up scoring on a pass ball. A Strongsville miscue in the outfield allowed two more runs to score for an 8-0 lead.
The eight-run lead was more than plenty from Minney, who showed almost no effect from a badly bruised finger suffered at the Prebis Tournament.
She was perfect through five innings before Hallie Mach singled to center to spoil the bid for perfection. Mach ended up scoring the Mustangs’ only run of the game.
“I’m feeling a lot better,” Minney said. “Now we are coming together. We’ve been playing a lot better — a lot more solid all the way around.
“Pretty much was working for me (pitching wise). (Having a good defense) takes a lot of stress off. You don’t have to be as tight pitching.”
Looney capped off the Pioneers’ big day at the plate with a solo blast over the center field fence for her first home run of the year. She also scored twice. Three of Elyria’s nine hits went for extra bases along with handful of long fly outs.
“It was right down the middle,” Looney said. “It just looked like that perfect pitch. She was left-handed, so she was coming at me.
“I felt it. It hit that nice part of the bat. It was either (going out) or hitting the fence. It felt great when it cleared.”
Minney threw a scoreless seventh inning, improving to 14-3 on the year. Using her vast repertoire, she struck out eight and allowed just one hit.
Getting an all-around win this late in the season shows Elyria’s blend of experience and youthfulness is meshing at the right time.
“We’re getting there and we know how to play now,” Looney said. “So it’s more relaxed and we know what to expect. We have freshman in the field and we’re trusting each other a lot more, now that the season is coming to tournament time.”
Elyria plays next Monday against Shaker Heights.
Elyria 9, Strongsville 1
NOC Valley Division
Strongsville (10-7, 4-4) 000 001 0 — 1 1 3
Elyria (19-5, 7-1) 031 041 x — 9 9 1
TWO HITS OR MORE — Elyria: Haley Looney, Alexis Roseboro; 2B — E: Looney; 3B — E: Patty Davis; HR — E: Looney; WP — Caitlyn Minney (14-3); LP – Nicole Blough (9-6).
Last Updated: 5/8/2013 11:31:31 PM EST