ELYRIA — The Pioneers got all they could handle Thursday from Cleveland St. Joseph Academy. Yes, the Pioneers prevailed 6-2 in the non-conference game, but it wasn’t that easy.
The Jaguars entered with a 1-5 record, but didn’t look the part. They outhit the Pioneers 7-6, left 10 runners stranded and committed only one error to the winners’ three. Elyria left three runners on base.
Veteran Elyria (7-3) coach Ken Fenik put it best.
“A win is a win and we’ll take it,” he said. “There are definitely things to work on, but we’re a very young team, a work in progress. We need to clean up our defense and you can’t walk people in this game.”
St. Joseph loaded the bases in the first inning on two walks and an error, but starting pitcher Carly Bachna, who struggled in the circle in just 1⅓ innings before being relieved by Elizabeth Ellis, finally got the third out on a grounder to second.
When St. Joseph pitcher Brenna Hefflernan retired the Pioneers 1-2-3 in their half of the first it looked like an upset was brewing.
But Elyria came alive in the second inning with five runs on doubles by Anna Daly and Kelsey Plato, a single by Alex Dick and a walk to take a lead it never gave up.
Ellis held down the Jaguars for the last 5⅔ innings, even though she gave up a run in the fifth and allowed baserunners in the second, fourth, sixth and seventh innings. She allowed four hits but only one run while walking one and striking out seven.
“Every pitch was working for me today and I wasn’t worried about their baserunners because my defense had my back,” she said.
Ellis improved to 6-2 on the season.
When St. Joseph scored once in the top of the sixth on two singles, the Elyria defense got Ellis off the hook by picking off Elizabeth Enovitch on first to end the inning. The Jaguars also put two runners on in the seventh on a single down the third base line and Elyria’s third error before Ellis ended the game by striking out Hannah Hill.
St. Joseph coach Darrin Radatz was happy with the number of runners but not the runs.
“We just didn’t get timely hits,” he said. “We didn’t capitalize on our many opportunities.”
Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.