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Chloe Elliott Ks 16 as Ritchie County blanks St. Marys

Photo by Joe Albright St. Marys’ Ella Smith fouls off a pitch during an at-bat against Ritchie County’s Chloe Elliott during the Rebels’ 9-0 win over the Blue Devils Thursday in St. Marys.

ST. MARYS — Ritchie County pitcher Chloe Elliott enjoys hurling the softball against the St. Marys Blue Devils – a lot.

In the last 14 innings against the group, she’s allowed one run while striking out double-digit batters twice in two wins. That kind of performance easily gives anyone confidence and helps them look forward to facing any team.

“The thing is Mahayla (Nichols) and me have been throwing against each other since freshman year so there is a bit of a rivalry there and usually it just gets me focused in when I know someone is kind of close to us and it kind of gets me going when I am trying to pitch to them and it makes me feel good,” Elliott said.

She felt better than ever Thursday evening. As close to fresh as can be after a two-day rest following a win over Ravenswood, she came out firing.

The Rebel tossed a complete-game gem, allowing no runs and striking out 16 batters, then went four for five at the plate with a double and a triple, Marissa Jeffrey wielded a hot bat with a 4 for 4 effort, and the Rebels returned to Ellenboro with a huge 9-0 win over the Blue Devils.

“This puts us in the driver seat in the conference. We are either one of two. This puts us in the driver seat in our section because St. Marys will have to come to us. Now, we are going after Williamstown twice and Tyler twice and Chloe is going to go after them,” Ritchie County head coach Dave Mossor said. “We are hitting the ball and fielding the ball well right now.”

Nichols yielded seven runs, five earned, four walks and struck out four in five innings of work. Yet, the St. Marys bats couldn’t do much to back her up, managing just four hits.

“We lack confidence,” St. Marys head coach Lacy Riggs said. “When you aren’t confident you are beat before you walk on the field. We don’t see that type of pitching enough. We went from last night seeing a pitcher who throws 30 miles an hour to maybe 35 or 40 to a kid who throws 60 to 65 tonight and it just makes it difficult.”

Their night began going sideways shortly after Lillie Law scored on an Olivia Dodd infield sacrifice.

Once Elliott took the mound with the lead, she took command. Desiree Taylor reaching on a single, and Ella Smith taking a free pass after being beaned hardly registered. Instead, three of their teammates went down on strikes, which signaled the beginning of the end.

Shortly after that, the Rebels went back to work and put the game out of reach. Five straight hits off Nichols, beginning with Jeffrey’s single through the first and second baseman increased the visiting team’s lead to 4-0. By giving Elliott that much room to operate, the St. Marys team hung its head. Thus, never giving themselves a chance to answer the bell, according to Riggs.

“We panicked and went into shutdown mode. The dugout stayed silent, and you can’t beat yourselves. You have to stay up and can’t let something snowball. You need to move on from a mistake or a strikeout and bounce back. You have to be resilient and they kind of just gave up,” Riggs said. Moving forward, Elliott struck out at least one batter per inning the rest of the way.

She understandably smiled gleefully after the victory. “It really is a good feeling to win as many times as we can and get ahead of everyone else,” she said.

The Rebels now host a doubleheader against Williamstown at 5 p.m. today, while St. Marys gets a bit of a break before welcoming Buffalo for a 5:30 p.m. start May 18. Riggs, despite the loss, still took away a positive from the performance.

“We had one hit last time, and tonight we have four hits so that is an improvement,” she said.

Contact Joe Albright at jalbright@newsandsentinel.com

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