September 22, 2014

Elyria
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Softball: Raiders’ Christine Lyzen and Pirates’ Dagmar Smith get along … off the diamond

SULLIVAN — Pitchers Christine Lyzen of Columbia and Dagmar Smith of Black River are summertime travel ball teammates and friends of longstanding.

But put them in opposite dugouts during the high school season and all that teammate and buddy-buddy stuff goes on the back burner.

They faced each other again Tuesday in a Patriot Athletic Conference crossover game and each played well. Smith struck out 13 Raiders and Lyzen pitched a three-hitter.

But Lyzen and Columbia also got two hits and three RBIs from shortstop Emily Viccarone in a 3-1 victory. The Raiders (10-1) remained undefeated after six PAC games. Black River fell to 5-6, 4-3 in the conference.

It was 1-1 after an inning and stayed that way until the fifth. That’s when Viccarone hit a 1-1 pitch into center field for a two-run single that scored Amanda Sedlock and Crystal Fetchet. Viccarone’s first-inning single drove Kaley Marshall home for the first run. Columbia also got two hits from Sedlock.

“It’s easy to hit well in situations like this when you have such a supportive team,” Viccarone said. “Coach (Ken Lugo) is also our hitting coach and he works with us day in and day out. That really helps me. I’m typically relaxed at the plate.”

It was the second straight loss for the Pirates, who were defeated 13-0 by Firelands on Monday.

They bounced back nicely Tuesday and were in a nip-and-tuck pitchers battle until Viccarone’s fifth-inning heroics.

“We came ready to play today and when we come ready to play, we can play,” Lauren Toth, the Pirates’ first-year coach said. “We need to come ready to play every day and we try to stress that to these young players. I think Dag did very well today and her ability to bounce back like that is awesome.”

The Raiders’ Lyzen finished with seven strikeouts and walked none until the Black River seventh, when she walked two. She had runners at first and second with two outs, and got the final out on a routine grounder to the left side.

Lyzen recorded four strikeouts in the second inning after the Raiders misplayed the third strike on the second and the Pirates’ Morgan Alban legged it out to first. She got the next two batters on swinging third strikes.

“We’re all in a good mood, we’re hitting well and our defense is good,” Lyzen said of the Raiders’ ongoing success. “We’re really excited.”

As for her performance, Lyzen said the curveball was working well.

“I was focused and I was dedicated,” she said. “I was determined. It’s so frustrating to give up those walks, but it helps when you have a good defense behind you.”

Black River got its run after Smith led off the first inning with an infield single. She moved to second on a groundout and, with two outs, ran home on Megan Scott’s single to center.

“This was a very nice win for us,” said Ken Lugos, Columbia’s first-year coach. “The girls made good contact today. They’ve been working very hard over the past month just to put the ball in play. That’s what we tell them — put the ball in play, especially in this game going against Dagmar. She’s a very good pitcher, but they did their job.”

Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or softball@bobdaniels.info.