By RICH KELLY
For the Star Beacon
MADISON TOWNSHIP —
Both the Lakeside Dragons and Madison Blue Streaks are young in experience, but the difference between the teams was big on Tuesday afternoon in Madison. A sloppy start for the Dragons spelled doom as Madison rolled to a 10-0 win in a Division I sectional semifinal.
“Lakeside is a young team that will make mistakes,” Madison coach Dan Fertig said. “We were fortunate to jump on them early and then play good ball ourselves. We’ve been playing pretty well lately, and heading into the tournament, that is a good thing for us.”
The Blue Streaks advance to play Mayfield today in the sectional final.
The first five hitters for the Blue Streaks (11-13, 8-4 in Premier Athletic Conference) reached base safely. One via walk, a single up the middle by Gabbi Amato then three errors by the Dragons leading to four unearned runs against Bree Leonard.
Meanwhile, Madison’s hurlers, starting with Nikki Ochoa then Alicia Major and Jenna LaRiche, mowed down Dragon hitters all day, allowing but a single hit — a fourth inning double to right center field by Taylor Thome. The only other Dragon to reach base was Kayla Johnston, who walked in the third.
Lakeside wound up committing four errors in that first inning while the Blue Streaks added only two hits total, and the Blue Streaks hit safely four times for another pair of runs in the second before putting the game away with three more runs on five hits in the fourth.
Sam Tromba led off with a single to right, Tayler Gustin, who had three hits on the day, doubled her to third, and Tromba came home as the throw from left went to second base. Gustin was thrown out at third on a sharp relay by Thome.
The fifth Dragon error and a stolen base set up an RBI double by Ochoa. Abby Thompson followed with an infield single to plate Ochoa and Madison had all the runs it needed.
“We just didn’t come to play in the first inning again today,” Lakeside coach Kerry Weir said. “That’s been our problem all season. It’s just too tough to come back after giving up a lot of runs early. They made the plays and we didn’t, it’s that simple. That was the difference in the game. We just don’t have a lot of varsity experience as a team. We can do the simple things, but we don’t have the game-type experience or awareness on the field to complete plays.”
Several Blue Streaks had solid days offensively. While pitching three hitless innings to get the win, Ochoa also scored three on two hits and two stolen bases. Tayler Gustin went 3-3, Abby Thompson had two hits and scored twice, as did Amanda Mangelo. Samantah Tromba had two hits and Gabbi Amato drove home a pair of runs as Madison ripped a dozen hits.
Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson.