ELYRIA — Elyria’s 10th-ranked softball team won its fourth straight game by mercy rule Monday.
Coming off a big weekend, Elyria turned in a 10-0 Northeast Ohio Conference rematch win over Brunswick at the old Elyria West complex. The Pioneers (18-5, 6-1 NOC) defeated the Blue Devils 9-1 earlier in the season.
The lopsided streak started with a 19-2 conference rout of Shaker Heights on Friday. The Pioneers went on to defeat Akron Ellet 12-0 and fifth-ranked Brecksville 13-1 in a Saturday tournament at Twinsburg.
During the four-game rampage, Elyria outscored its opponents 54-3 and outhit them 43-14, getting a five-strikeout, one-walk three-hitter from senior Caitlyn Minney against Brunswick.
Senior catcher Haley Looney, who ended Monday’s game with a fifth-inning single, said it boils down to hitting.
“Coach (Ken Fenik) has been talking a lot about hitting,” she said. “He says we have to be defensively and offensively strong, especially because other teams are going to hit. We have to hit. So I think we just got it in our heads that we’re strong and pretty much the whole weekend came down to awesome hitting.”
Of her game-winner, Looney said: “I knew one more (run) would win it and I hadn’t hit the whole game. So I just used a nice, easy swing and it got in there.”
Elyria scored six runs on just one hit in the first inning. It were aided by four walks, a hit batter and the first of six Blue Devils errors. After Looney — who had walked — was forced at the plate on a bases-loaded grounder, the next six Elyria batters reached base and scored.
MacKenzie Phares also walked, Marie Masters was hit by a pitch, Patty Davis reached on a fielder’s choice, Alexis Roseboro delivered a two-run single, Holly Howser reached on an error and Carly Bachna walked.
Two walks, three more Brunswick errors and Howser’s booming triple to the right-field fence sent three more runs across in the second inning.
The Pioneers wrapped it up after Bachna singled to open the home fifth. Anna Daly sacrificed her to second, Minney reached on an error that sent Bachna to third and Bachna scored on Looney’s one-out single to center.
Minney allowed just one baserunner the first three innings, opposing pitcher Sydney Sherry, who hit an infield single leading off the third. But she was picked off first by Looney’s left-handed throw to Davis.
After Brunswick’s disastrous first two innings, the sophomore Sherry settled down.
“She does have a lot of potential,” Blue Devils coach Julie Salzman said. “Her biggest thing — and it’s been like this all season — is those first two innings. She starts settling down then, but obviously against teams like this you can’t do that.”
While Minney pitched one of Saturday’s games in addition to Monday’s, the right-hander said she still feels pain in her throwing hand after being hit by a pitch April 27.
“It still hurts, but it’s not terrible pain,” Minney said. “It feels like a giant bruise. It makes it hard to pitch.”
Masters and Bachna each had two hits for the Pioneers, while Masters, Roseboro and Bachna scored two runs apiece.
“I don’t know how many unearned runs we had, but that kind of changed everything,” said Fenik, who posted his 446th career victory. “Give our baserunners credit. They were ready to move to the next base. But it was just one of those games and we’re happy to win.”
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.