LAGRANGE — Keystone and Elyria rolled to one-sided victories Friday as the ninth Prebis Memorial Classic opened at LaGrange Community Park.
Midview, which trailed 6-0 early and 10-2 in the sixth inning, made a strong comeback against Nordonia before losing, 10-8.
All three are in action again at 10 a.m. today as the 40-team round-robin invitational wraps up in LaGrange and at Wellington Community Park. A champion is not crowned in round-robin play.
Keystone, the tournament host and the state’s second-ranked Division II team, takes on Columbus Bishop Hartley, while Elyria faces Granville and Midview goes against Sylvania Southview of suburban Toledo. They also play again at 1:30 p.m., Keystone against Mentor, Elyria against Columbus DeSales and Midview vs. South Range of the Columbus area.
Keystone freshman Lauren Shaw pitched and batted the Wildcats to a 9-0 win over Mercy High School of Rochester, N.Y. She hurled a four-hitter in which she struck out eight and walked only one. She also had two of the Wildcats’ seven hits, including a two-RBI double in Keystone’s three-run third inning, and scored two runs.
“I felt very confident at the plate, because I knew if I didn’t succeed, my team would be right there to pick me up,” Shaw said.
She also said she was confident in the circle.
“If the ball is hit, I know the infield can get it,” Shaw said. “My curveball and my screwball were working pretty well today. When I was younger, I always worked the Prebis with my mom and now being able to play in it is just so amazing.”
Sammie Stefan, another Keystone freshman, also had two hits, including a double, an RBI and scored three times. In four plate appearances, Stefan was never retired. She also walked once and reached on an error. Junior catcher Liz Hayes also reached base three times in three plate appearances.
Keystone (14-2) scored single runs in each of the first two innings before blowing it open with three more in the third. The Wildcats put it out of reach with a four-run fourth inning in which they sent eight batters to the plate.
“I think, offensively, we hit the ball hard,” Wildcats coach Jim Piazza said. “Sometimes we hit them right at somebody, and what we tell them is, if there are going to be outs, we want loud outs. These kids have done a great job of really focusing and staying back on different pitches.
“And Lauren (Shaw) threw the ball well today. When you have the elements and it’s a little cold, your hand shrinks a little bit and stuff like that. But she fought through it and did a good job.”
The Pioneers (10-4), who’ve struggled at the plate recently, came alive offensively Friday in a 19-1 mercy-rule rout of Madison. They got a pair of fence-clearing home runs from sophomore Carly Bachna, and Kelsey Plato, another sophomore, drilled a three-run triple and put up four RBIs.
“The only thing I want to say is I liked the way we came out and hit the ball today,” Pioneers coach Ken Fenik said. “We haven’t been hitting, but we made good contact and showed some power today. That’s what they’re capable of doing, so we’ll continue with the work in progress.”
Bachna’s home runs were her third and fourth of the season.
“I came up to bat and I’ve not been doing real well,” Bachna said of the first of her homers. “But she threw me a pitch right down the middle and I just cranked it. On the second one, she threw me an inside pitch and same thing. It was in my zone so I took it.”
Of her bases-clearing triple, Plato said: “Whenever I step in the box, I just think if it’s there, hit it.”
Midview got three hits from Erin DiFranco, two each from Morgan Hamker and Hannah Taulbee and a two-RBI double from Cassie Haight. But the Middies couldn’t overcome the early deficit.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.