Sophomore catcher Mary Schentur had three hits and two RBIs and freshman pitcher Kelly Geringer held the high-powered Avon Lake offense to just one earned run on six hits as the Bees swarmed to a 5-3 win in a battle of state-ranked Southwestern Conference teams.
Brecksville — ranked No. 5 in Division I in the most recent Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association Poll — quickly quieted the home crowd by scoring a pair of first-inning runs. Sophomore Alexis Mack led off the game with a double to the left-field alley. Mack, who has orally committed to the University of South Carolina, scored on a single by Schentur.
Schentur came home on a passed ball to score the Bees’ second run.
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“This group was preparing for this game from the minute our last meeting ended,” said Brecksville coach Rex Mack.
“We got in a team huddle that day and said we’re not going to lose to them again. We lost a couple of games we probably should not have lost this weekend (at the Prebis Memorial Classic) and we said we were starting a brand new season with the game today against Avon Lake. This momentum will carry us forward straight into the postseason.”
The No. 8-ranked Shoregals won the first meeting 4-1 on April 16.
Avon Lake (13-1, 5-1 SWC) tied the game at 3 in the third inning when pitcher Annie Wennerberg and third baseman Alexis Thomas scored on a Brecksville (13-3, 5-1) fielding error. However, the go-ahead run proved elusive for the Shoregals.
Wennerberg allowed 13 hits and three earned runs, but she also struck out 10 Brecksville hitters.
“The first couple innings we didn’t play our game, but finally we settled down there in the third,” Avon Lake coach Buzz Mullen said. “When you have a pitcher with 10 strikeouts you expect to win the game, but Brecksville is a good hitting team and they just stay patient and put the ball in play. Sometimes that’s just how the ball bounces.”
Mack and Schentur were at the center of the Bees’ rally again in the sixth inning with back-to-back RBI singles that proved to be the difference in the game.
“Of course we knew they beat us once and that’s our only conference loss so we brought our bats and our defense and we were ready to go today,” Schentur said. “There is no way we were going to lose three games in a row. We were going to bring everything we had and if (Avon Lake) is better than us they will beat us, but they aren’t better than us so we beat them.”
In the biggest game of her young career, Geringer retired the last five Avon Lake hitters and struck out six Shoregals.
“I’m not sure Kelly realized the enormity of the situation, she was just going out there and trying to pitch her game,” Mack said. “That was the beauty of having her in the circle today.”
All is far from lost for Avon Lake, which controls its destiny for at least a share of the SWC title and has its sights set on bigger goals later in the season.
“You never want to lose but maybe this will do the team some good,” Mullen said. “When you’re perfect you have a big target on your back. I think we can regroup and come back even stronger. We played hard today and the girls have nothing to be ashamed of. You win some and you lose some — that’s how this game works.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.