October 22, 2014

Elyria
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High school softball: Keystone’s heralded sophomore delivers offense in opening win

Keystone's Destiny Weber slides safe into second base before Westlake's Katie Nagel can tag her.  STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Keystone’s Destiny Weber slides safe into second base before Westlake’s Katie Nagel can tag her. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

LAGRANGE — Are the young Keystone Wildcats a team of destiny?

No one will know until the first Saturday in June. But they were Tuesday afternoon in a season-opening, non-conference 3-0 win over Westlake.

Third baseman Destiny Weber, a sophomore who has already committed to Penn State, launched a two-run home run in the third inning to give the Wildcats all the scoring they needed. She also had the team’s first hit of the season, a first-inning double.

Freshman right fielder Sammie Stefan also had two hits, a single and an RBI double to center in the fifth inning. The double sent sophomore Summer Constable home with the run that iced it.

And the Demons never did retire Morgan McNulty. The senior second baseman hit two singles in two official at-bats and walked once.

Three freshmen and two sophomores started for the Wildcats.

Among the ninth-graders was Lauren Shaw, who continued a long pitching tradition in hurling a six-strikeout, no-walk, five-hitter. The left-hander also made a bit of history as the first Keystone southpaw since Laura Beckham pitched sparingly with the Wildcats’ 1999 state championship team.

“I just cleared my mind, saw a pitch I liked and hit it,” Weber said of her homer. She has been recruited by the Nittany Lions as a power hitter and third baseman. “We had runners on base and my job was to get them home. This feels good and rewarding, and shows the coaches I pay attention to them.”

The Demons made it tough. They left a runner on second in the first inning, runners at first and second in the third, another runner on second in the fifth and the game ended with the bases full of Demons.

“We had some good hits, but we couldn’t string them together,” Tom Shiban, Westlake’s veteran coach, said. “I’m proud of the way the girls rallied and (pitcher Katie Lew) battled. I’m not happy that we lost, but I think we’re all happy not to be in the gym. Because of the weather, this was our first time on dirt.”

Keystone coach Jim Piazza said it was also the Wildcats’ first day outdoors.

“We’re a young team and we knew this would be exciting,” he said. “(Westlake) put the pressure on us there in the seventh inning, but the kids stayed together. Like I said, we’re young, but they didn’t get down.”

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