The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

May 17, 2013

Top to bottom

Geneva’s lineup too much for Conneaut

GENEVA — For a team to score a number of runs in a softball game, the bottom portion of a lineup has to string a couple of hits together at least once.

Geneva got that production from the lower half of the order and used it to beat Conneaut, 7-0,  in a Division II sectional championship game at Geneva on Thursday.

“Once they flipped it to the top, they put the pressure on us,” Conneaut coach Nick Armeni said. “They had bases loaded with the top of the order coming up and those girls are at the top of the lineup for a reason. With the top up, I’d feel pretty good if I were Geneva.”

“We’ve been trying to move the lineup around so we could score more runs,” Geneva coach Eleshia Pitcher said. “It actually worked today. We moved Sydney (McCaleb) down a little bit and Alyssa (Donato) down a couple spots.

“We’ve focused a lot this past week on hitting. They’ve been working hard.”

The second-seeded Eagles (19-2) will play third-seeded Jefferson (20-4) on Wednesday in a district semifinal at the JAGS Complex.

“We were hoping a county team would be on the other side of the bracket so we both could get (to the district finals),” Eleshia Pitcher said. “(Jefferson’s) pitching is good, their hitting is good, they just made more errors (than we did the last time we played them).

“We’ve got to keep hitting and we’ve got to keep scoring runs.”  

The season concludes for the fifth-seeded Spartans (13-7).  

Geneva southpaw Amy Pitcher and Conneaut hurler Lexi Zappitelli had matched each other pitch for pitch over the first three innings, both having allowed a solitary hit.

With a couple of hard-hit and well-placed balls, the Eagles touched up Zappitelli in the fourth.

“It was big that we scored when we needed to,” Eleshia Pitcher said. “We put the ball in play. That was nice.

“(Scoring those three runs) took the pressure off of us a little bit. The defense did a good job and we hit today. That was probably the best game we’ve played all around.”

Sarah Depp led off with a bunt single but was erased as Kylie Hansen reached on a fielder’s choice. Becky Depp followed with a smash off the third baseman’s glove and Jamie Verno brought home Hansen with the first run on a single up the middle. Donato, batting sixth in the order, walked to load the bases.

Zappitelli got a much-needed strikeout for the second out, but paid the price a batter later when McCaleb, hitting eighth, singled off Zappitelli’s foot, scoring Becky Depp from third. Kaylin Hansen was hit by a pitch to plate Verno for a 3-0 Geneva lead.

“They hit Lexi as hard as she’s been hit all year,” Armeni said. “They earned it off of her.”

That was all the support Amy Pitcher needed. She fanned 12 and walked no one in a three-hit shutout.

“No, (I didn’t expect a 3-hitter),” Amy Pitcher said. “Not at all. I knew the first four or five batters in their order could hit. I went out and threw what I had to throw.

“I just kept going away (from where they were setting up). If they were up on the plate, I went inside and if they were away from the play I went outside. I was throwing good pitches, they were swinging, they just weren’t making contact.”

“Our Achilles’ heel all year has been our inability to hit,” Armeni said. “We’ve had good pitching and the defense, for the most part, has been there. We just haven’t hit like a lot of the girls of capable of hitting.

“That magnifies every error in the field and we can’t walk anybody. We put no pressure on their defense.”   

In the fifth, Hansen followed Sarah Depp’s leadoff triple with an RBI single and Becky Depp singled through the hole on the left side. After a popup, Donato rattled the base of the center field fence for a double to score Hansen and Becky Depp for a 6-0 Geneva advantage.

“I was waiting for it,” Donato said. “She wasn’t throwing anything down the middle. That was really the only pitch she gave me that was hittable. I really wanted to hit and she wasn’t throwing anything I could hit. I’m waiting for one to go over. I keep hitting the fence.

“Once one girl hits for us, we all start hitting. When we start hitting the team really comes together. Hitting is contagious.”

The Eagles added another run in the sixth off relief pitcher Angie Zappitelli without the benefit of a hit. Kaylin Hansen walked and moved up on a sacrifice. Hansen scored from second after a popup was caught and the throw meant to double her off sailed all the way to the fence in left-center.

The only real threat the Spartans mounted came in the sixth.

Tori Simek led off with a single, Alyssa Chadwick reached on the Eagles’ only error and Lexi Zappitelli singled to center, loading the bases with two outs.

The threat was thwarted when Amy Pitcher recorded a strikeout.

Lexi Zappitelli (10-5) allowed six earned runs on nine hits in five innings. She struck out seven, walked one and hit one.   

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Justin Butler Justin time

    It was just four short years ago that Justin Butler was spending his fall on a soccer field.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: ‘Kids’ stuff’ spurs great responses

    I’m often caught more than a bit off-guard by what stories, features or columns generate responses from you, Loyal Readers, much more so than those who do not.
    For example, the column that appeared in this space a couple of days ago regarding things yours truly and my buddies did as kids prompted more than a few responses.
    A sampling, many of which were posted on my Facebook page:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • kyle GANG GREEN

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scholastic Schedule:

    THURSDAY, APRIL 17
    Baseball
    Grand Valley at Maplewood (4:30)
    St. John at Lawrence (4:30)
    Mathews at PV (4:30)
    Fairport at Perry (7:30)
    West Geauga at Madison (4:30)
    Harvey at Riverside (4:30)
    Jefferson at Harding (5)

    April 16, 2014

  • Olivia In transition

    Pymatuning Valley graduate Olivia Holt had a distinct reason she chose to play basketball for Mount Union.
    “They do have tradition,” Holt, the daughter of Gus and Michelle Holt, said. “I’m from PV. We had a tradition of winning and working hard there. I wanted to go somewhere that tradition mattered. I knew I was going to get better by coming here.”

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: Spring has sprung one big leak

    Paying a Wednesday morning visit to the variety store...

    Think spring?
    If this, um, err, uh... spring... feels a bit unusual for high school baseball and softball teams in Northeast Ohio, it is, to a point.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    TENNIS
    NON-CONFERENCE
    St. John 4, Euclid 1
    at Pine Lake

    April 16, 2014

  • tennis Scholastic Schedule:

    WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16
    Baseball

    PV at Ledgemont (4:30)
    North at Geneva (4:30)
    Riverside at Chardon (4:30)
    Jefferson at Lakeview (5)

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Luke Baldwin Mustang to a Quaker

    As a junior, Grand Valley’s Luke Baldwin got a shot to play linebacker for the Mustangs because of an injury to a starter.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: Kids’ stuff but, boy, was it a blast!

    I have no idea why I thought of this, just now, but I did.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

Sports Week in Review April 7-12
Spring Sports Practice in Ashtabula County
2014 AP BB Tourney Top 25
2014 AP BB Tourney Scoreboard
2014 AP BB Tourney News
2014 AP BB Tourney Photos
Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic
Girls Regional Basketball Action
Week of Champions
Sports Week in Review February 21, 22
Grand Valley at Edgewood Boys Basketball
Sports Week in Review Feb. 3 to 8
Sports Week in Review January 30 to Feb. 1
Sports Week in Review January 13-18
Sports Week in Review January 10 and 11
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video