By MIKE SHAFFER
For the Star Beacon
If Geneva softball coach Eleshia Pitcher feels the need for her team to take some fielding practice before their next game, it should be understandable.
After all, the Eagles didn’t much defensive work in during their 5-0 victory visting Hathaway Brown on Friday as pitcher Amy Pitcher allowed just four of her deliveries to be put in play.
Amy Pitcher, a southpaw senior, allowed just one hit over six innings of work. She struck out 15, including the first nine Blazers to step in the box. She did not allow a ball to be put in play until the top of the fourth when Hathaway Brown’s Erin Schwartz grounded out to the shortstop.
Amy Pitcher took a perfect game into the fifth inning before Brianna Owens doubled to right field ending a string of 13 straight batters set down for the Blazers only hit. She issued a walk in the sixth inning, her only other blemish on the afternoon.
“She did a great job for us today,” Eleshia Pitcher said. “She was hitting her spots when we asked her to. She has seven pitches and she used them all today. She was very effective.”
Hathaway Brown coach Bruno Biello was equally impressed with Amy Pitcher.
“For being early in the season, she’s the best we’ve seen and she may be the best we see all year," he said. "She got ahead of us and kept us really off balance. She destroyed us with her rise ball. My batters couldn’t catch up to that pitch, she was really effective.”
The Eagles (1-1) scored the only run they would need in the first inning. Sarah Depp got the offense going with a one-out bunt single. She stole second, moved to third on a fly ball and scored on a passed ball.
“We struggled yesterday a lot,” Eleshia Pitcher said. “We had only one hit. We wanted to do whatever it took to get on base today. We put some nice bunts down and came up with some key hits to score some runs.”
Becky Depp came up with a big hit in the third inning when the Eagles struck for three runs. Pitcher led off with bunt single. Sarah Depp laid down a sacrifice bunt. Blazers pitcher Logan Paul fielded the bunt cleanly only to have her throw go off the first baseman’s glove. Amy Pitcher raced all the way home from first as the ball trickled into right field.
“Defensively, we were pretty bad today,” Biello said. “Logan threw the ball pretty well for us to keep us relatively in the game, but it’s tough to win when you have like five, six or seven errors.”
Becky Depp made the Blazers (2-1) pay for the error by smashing a pitch through the left side of the infield that went all the way to the fence for a triple putting the Eagles up, 3-0. Two batters later, Sydney McCaleb lifted a fly ball to center to bring home the fourth run.
Geneva tacked on one more in the fourth. Amy Pitcher opened the inning with her second hit of the day. She moved to second on a ground ball by Sarah Depp. Becky Depp drove her home with a single for her second RBI of the game.
Kristen Schupska spelled Amy Pitcher in the seventh inning, retiring the Blazers in order to end the game
The win evened Geneva’s record after a 5-0 loss 5-0 Cuyahoga Heights on Thursday.
“This was a nice bounce-back game for us,” Eleshia Pitcher said. “We start a couple of freshmen and have a new player from Lakeside. I think yesterday we were a little nervous, but they settled in nicely today.”
Shaffer is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.