By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP —
Just like any hitter would be, Alyssa Donato was just trying to stay relaxed and put the ball in play.
She did a bit more than that in doubling home what would turn out to be the deciding runs in Geneva’s 7-5 non-conference victory at Edgewood on Tuesday.
After Sydney McCaleb walked and Becky Depp singled, Donato doubled off the fence in left-center to give the Eagles (18-2) a 7-2 lead in the top of the seventh.
“I was just trying to make contact,” Donato said. “I knew we needed runs. I was trying to make contact, That was my main focus.
“I’m definitely getting more comfortable as a hitter. I always take the first pitch. (Geneva coach Eleshia Pitcher) gets so mad at me. I wait for the perfect pitch. That seems to be working well for me, so I’ll keep doing it.”
“She’s been hitting the ball really well lately,” Eleshia Pitcher said. “Once one kid hits, it’s contagious and everybody else starts hitting.”
Freshman Kaitlynn Kamppi (2-0) kept the Warriors in check long enough to get the win for the Eagles. She allowed one earned run on four hits in five innings.
“I mostly just pitched inside and outside and tried to keep them low,” Kamppi said. “I was just trying to make them hit it so we could field it.”
“We can’t adjust down (in speed), for whatever reason,” Edgewood coach Steve Cunha said. “We can’t consistently make adjustments to stay back on the ball.”
Those two runs in the seventh were needed as the Warriors (11-15) mounted a comeback against Geneva reliever and ace Amy Pitcher. It was too little, too late, however.
“That’s the story of season, that game right there,” Cunha said. “We can’t give teams seven outs in an inning. We gave up four unearned runs. If we catch the ball, we win, 5-3. I don’t know how many games you could say that about this year.”
Courtney DiDonato drew a leadoff walk in the seventh off Pitcher and Sam Blashinsky singled with one out in the home half of the seventh. Gia Saturday doubled home DiDonato and Taylor Diemer’s groundball out scored Blashinsky. Gabriella Patete’s single plated Saturday and the Warriors were within two, 7-5, with two out.
“We just were not good enough offensively for four or five innings, let alone when we’re not catching the ball,” Cunha said.
Pitcher ended the game with a strikeout.
Edgewood got on the board first after Diemer singled and stole second then scored on a single by Patete in the bottom of the second.
The Eagles answered in the fourth after Donato tripled to right-center and scored on Kaylin Hansen’s single.
It was the fifth inning, however, that proved to be a big one for Geneva.
Two Edgewood miscues, an RBI double by Donato, a sacrifice fly by McCaleb and an RBI sacrifice bunt by Depp put the Eagles up, 5-1.
“We’ve left like 130 baserunners stranded this year,” Eleshia Pitcher said. “We moved the lineup around and we’re trying to get them to put the ball in play more.
“We had kids hit who don’t normally play a lot and they put the ball in play.”
Diemer (2-8) took the loss in allowing seven runs — three earned — on 10 hits. She struck out a pair wand walked one.
“She’s going to give up hits because she’s around the plate,” Cunha said. “If we just field bunts, we win, 5-3. There was a ball hit off the fence when we were trying to walk the girl to load the bases.”
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.