ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Martins Ferry and Harrison Central both punched their tickets to meet in the bracket finals of the Division III sectional softball tournament at St. Clairsville Wednesday evening.
In the matinee Harrison Central used dominant pitching and timely hitting to break out of a scoring slump and win a 9-2 decision over Monroe Central.
Both teams would go in order in the first inning, the Seminoles would strand a base runner in the second inning and get two outs on the Huskies in the second frame.
MIKE?PALMER Special to The Times
Monroe Central’s Cameron Brock attempts to tag out Harrison Central’s Emily Dodds at second base during sectional softball action at St. Clairsville Wednesday.
Struggling with base runners in scoring position in recent outings Brooke Shultz was on first base after a fielders choice. Katie Parkinson singled Shultz to second setting up an RBI double for Summer Gladman. Emily Dodds drew a walk to load the bases and 'Noles pitcher Asia Prickett had Paige Dunlap one strike away from ending the inning.
"Paige was a big part of our win" said Harrison skipper Don Bethel. "She made a big catch for us to end the (second) inning and then hit the ball that broke it open."
Dunlap laced a line drive into the left center field gap for a bases clearing double earning three RBIs giving Harrison Central the 4-0 lead. .
Prickett spoiled the no-hitter in the third inning with a single but Huskies hurler Katie Ellzy notched her seventh strike out to strand Monroe Central's second base runner.
Ellzy would strike out 13 Seminole batters in all, allowing just one walk and 4 hits along the way. The freshman also sent a towering fly ball over the left field fence for a solo home run in the bottom of the third making it 5-0.
Dodds doubled in the fourth and Dunlap earned her fourth RBI with a second double into the gap. The Huskies added a pair in the fifth on a Parkinson single down the right field line. Dunlap scored number nine after a sixth inning walk when Kiley Staley singled into the right field gap.
Ellzy would allow two runs in the bottom of the seventh as Roberts and Miller singled and Amanda Haslam pushed the pair across with a double to center field. The Huskies would end the contest tagging Haslam trying to extend the hit for three bags setting the final tally.
"I thought we played well defensively tonight, we had just one error, but they hit the ball into the holes," said Monroe Central's veteran coach Missy Knowlton. "Give Harrison credit, they have a good ball club."
The Lady Noles close their season ledger at 9-10. "Several of those losses were by just one run," added Knowlton. "We split with Shenandoah and River this season."
Harrison Central advances to the second game tonight against Martins Ferry earning their spot with a 15-2 smack down of Shenandoah in the night cap.
Harrison Central 9,
Monroe Central 2
MC 000 000 2 2 4 1
HC 041 121 x 9 9 0
Batteries : HC - Ellzy and Dodds. MC - Prickett,, Haslam (5) and Miller