VERMILION — Somehow, it was a fitting end to the 2012 high school softball season.
The Purple team, led by seven members of the Division II state champion Keystone Wildcats and coached by Keystone’s Jim Piazza, dominated from the first inning to the last pitch in defeating the Red team 6-0 at Tuesday’s 26th annual Lorain County All-Star Softball game at Vermilion’s Shelley Steele Field.
The Keystone contingent put their mark on the game early on as Erin Pond led off with a walk and scored on a Bee Shaw double.
More photos below.
It was a big night for Pond, whose arms were overflowing with hardware during a pregame awards ceremony in which she was presented the 2012 Lorain County Coaches Association Player of the Year and the Division II Player of the year awards.
Pond capped off her big night in the fifth inning with an inside-the-park home run. She drove a pitch into the gap in left-center that rolled all the way to the fence, allowing her to speed around the bases.
“It was an inside pitch and I was able to hit it well and drive it,” Pond said. “When I got to third I saw coach Piazza waving me around and there was no way I was stopping.”
Wildcats accounted for four of the six Purple runs with Shaw singling in the fifth and scoring on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Wellington’s Olivia Wulfhoop. Alisha Silva also scored after leading off the fourth inning with a walk, stealing second and coming home on a throwing error.
Keystone’s Bri Buckley drove in a run with a single that scored Amherst’s Karina Del Valle during the Purple’s two-run third inning. Del Valle’s single earlier in the inning drove in Wellington’s Megan Brasee.
“It felt really good to get that hit and help out my team,” said Del Valle, who will be attending Washington University in St. Louis in the fall. “I haven’t hit in about three weeks so I was a little nervous, but this was such a welcoming atmosphere and it was so great to play with all these talented players I was just happy to help out my team.”
Kenzie Conrad, three days removed from pitching the Wildcats to a state championship, got the win for the Purple team while Avon’s Brittanie Fowler took the loss for the Red.
“It was just good to get one more chance to come out and play with my Keystone teammates,” Conrad said. “Even though it’s an all-star game you have to out there and pretend it’s just like any other game to perform your best.”
Fowler and Vermilion’s Katelynn Urgo had the only two hits for the Red team with back-to-back third-inning infield singles.
Elyria’s Darien Ward was the only other Red batter to hit the ball out of the infield.
Players from 13 schools from across the county took part in the game with all players getting at least one at-bat.
“When the opportunity to coach this game came up I jumped at it,” Piazza said. “To have one last chance to coach my seniors and work with all the talent that was out on this field tonight really means a lot to me.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.