October 24, 2014

Elyria
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Prebis Memorial Classic: Keystone picks up wins, along with some needed confidence

LAGRANGE — After winning its first two games in the Prebis Memorial Classic in walk-off fashion, Keystone decided to ditch the drama vs. Twinsburg.

Julie Plas smashed a third-inning grand slam to cap off a nine-run inning and give the Wildcats all its offense in a 9-0 win over the Tigers on Saturday.

Plas, making her only appearance in the starting lineup in the two-day event, turned on a 1-0 Savanna Backo fastball and deposited it over the left-field fence to put an exclamation point on a 3-0 weekend for Wildcats (14-3).

“That hit felt so good,” said Plas of her second home run of the year and first career grand slam.

“I’ve been in a slump for about a week and it was so amazing to get a big hit and pick my team up. I do not like those nail-biter gamers where we have to go into the bottom of the seventh to win it. I was so happy to help us get it done early.”

The Wildcats sent 12 batters to the plate in the third inning. Brittany Bowers and Plas led off the inning with back-to-back infield singles. Carleigh Herrington drove in a run with a one-out grounder back to the pitcher and Nicole Neri drove in two with a single to center.

“I think this team is finally starting to believe in themselves,” Keystone coach Jim Piazza said. “They don’t want to be compared to last year’s group, they want to make a name for themselves. Now we’re starting to get the mental toughness it takes to consistently win big games.

“Now there are some things we have to fight for like winning a conference title. When we lost a conference game earlier in the year that was a real wake-up call for the girls.”

Freshman Sara Lowman pitched a complete game two-hitter for Keystone, earning her second win of the weekend to improve to 6-1. Lowman had a no-hitter going into the fifth inning before allowing a single to center .

Lowman said the weekend was a real confidence booster for herself and her young Keystone teammates.

“I was more at ease when we got that big lead because I knew I didn’t have to be perfect,” she said. “I was just able to relax and put the ball over the plate. This weekend was a game-hanger for us. We really turned the corner this weekend.”

The Wildcats needed two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat Columbus Bishop Harley 5-4 in their first game of the day. Morgan McNulty scored three runs, including the game-winner. Keystone went into the bottom of the seventh down a run before Destiny Weber and McNulty started things off with back-to-back singles. A pair of Bishop Hartley (8-10) errors allowed the winning runs to score.

Emily Cornish (8-1) was the winning pitcher in the first game for the Wildcats.

Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.