ELYRIA TWP. — Two pitchers, one catcher, no runs allowed.
Junior Caitlyn Minney pitched two shutouts and senior Alyssa Barker hurled another as Elyria won three games and its own invitational tournament championship Saturday.
In a show of endurance, junior Haley Looney caught all three games in a raw chill and intermittent rain.
It was the eighth time in the 14-year history of the Elyria Softball Classic the Pioneers won the title on their home diamond at the old Elyria West complex. The tournament was washed out by rain last spring.
The Pioneers won the crown this time with a 5-0 victory over Sylvania Southview in something of a rematch. Elyria defeated Southview 7-4 for a Division I regional championship May 28.
It was the 10th straight victory for the Pioneers, who haven’t been defeated since a season-opening loss at Mentor on March 26. Earlier Saturday, they scored mercy-rule victories over Fairview, 8-0, and Columbia, 9-0, in a semifinal matchup. Southview (5-3) reached the final with a 6-2 semifinal win over Midview.
Minney struck out 12 and walked none in firing a two-hitter in the championship game. She fanned 10 of the first 13 batters, struck out the side in the third and fourth innings and allowed no baserunners until Meredith Martindale reached on an error in the fourth. She had a no-hitter until Rachel Loch singled to lead off the sixth.
All her pitches were working.
“They were all doing pretty good,” Minney said, adding that she wasn’t terribly disappointed when she lost the
no-hitter. “You can’t be perfect all the time. You don’t want to give it up, but you just have to deal with it.”
Looney was on the same page.
“All of her pitches were working,” she said. “She throws everything; drop, anything you can think of. She knows what works for her. Caitlyn was doing a lot of moving around today, you know, to different spots.”
Meanwhile, the Pioneers got two hits from Looney and senior Alanna Williams, who also had one of Elyria’s two RBIs.
Williams said Elyria’s opening-game loss to Mentor was a turning point.
“That was kind of a reality check for us,” she said. “Maybe we’re not as good as we think we are, I guess you could say. So it pushed us to practice harder, work harder and focus.”
Of her own hitting, Looney said: “I feel a lot better. I’ve changed my batting stance, so I feel more comfortable where I am now.”
Elyria’s second RBI belonged to junior Holly Howser, who singled home the first run in her only official at-bat. The Pioneers’ other three runs scored on two wild pitches and an error, all in the fourth inning.
Coach Ken Fenik said he was happy with the Pioneers.
“Minney pitched a couple good games today, Barker pitched a good game, Haley went three games behind the plate and did a nice job,” he said. “Our hitting was good, but there were a couple things we didn’t execute in the short game, so we’re going to have to get back after that.”
Southview coach Jim Zoltowski, whose team had played just five games until Saturday, said the Cougars were happy to see action.
“We’ve had a couple rainouts, so we were really thrilled just to get out and play,” Zoltowski said. “I told Coach (Fenik) this morning, ‘Our bus leaves at 8 o’clock, so we’re coming whether it’s pouring or not.’
“Anytime you can come play competition like Elyria and Midview and the other teams that are here, we’re going to take that opportunity.”
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.