LAGRANGE — Anna Daly and Kelsey Plato made sure the Prebis Memorial Classic ended on a high note for Elyria.
Daly and Plato each went 3-for-3 with three runs scored as the Pioneers defeated Columbus St. Francis DeSales 12-2 in six innings Saturday at LaGrange Community Park.
Plato and Carley Bachna led off the second inning with back-to-back doubles and Daly followed with a single as Elyria took an early 3-0 lead. That was just the beginning for the Pioneers’ offense.
In the fifth inning, Elyria (11-5) sent 11 batters to the plate, scoring six more runs. Bachna’s second double of the afternoon started a game-ending three-run rally in the sixth.
“We were just trying to make square contact and hit line drives because the wind was so crazy that if you hit the ball in the air you never knew what was going to happen,” said Daly, a junior left fielder. “It was so important that we had everybody hitting today. If one person isn’t hitting it’s everyone else’s job to pick them up. It feels really good to end the tournament with a win.”
The 5-9 hitters accounted for 10 of Elyria’s 13 hits.
Sophomore Elizabeth Ellis was in control for the Pioneers. She held the Stallions hitless for four innings, only faltering in the fifth when DeSales scored both of its runs on three hits.
“Everything was working for me,” Ellis said. “I felt really good warming up for this game. I didn’t know a lot about this team but sometimes it’s better that way. You don’t start getting in your own head and overthinking things.”
Both teams were coming off losses in their first games of the day. Elyria lost 4-2 to defending Division II regional finalist Granville. DeSales only had 15 minutes to regroup from a 14-12 loss to Poland Seminary before taking the field against the Pioneers.
Cameron Barber pitched 4⅓ innings, taking the loss for the Stallions (6-6).
“We hit the ball and we scored runs,” veteran Elyria coach Ken Fenik said. “The wind was blowing in our face but in spite of it we were able to keep the ball down and hit line drives. Obviously, I’m happy. Anytime you can come to this tournament and go 2-1 it’s a reason to be happy.”
Elyria was forced to do some lineup shuffling when starting shortstop Kandis Laseke suffered an injury in pregame warmups before the Granville game.
“We knew one of our best players was out of the game but we learned how to handle that last season when we were forced to play without (Melaine) Woodward,” Fenik said. “Good teams need to be able to deal with adversity.”
Madison Fullmer send the Elyria fans home an inning early with a sixth-inning grounder to second that scored Dierra Hammonds to make the score 12-2 and invoke the 10-run mercy rule.
“I was excited to pitch in the Prebis Tournament and face a team like Columbus DeSales,” Ellis said. “I think this win can provide a big confidence boost for us.”
The Pioneers had their chances to end the game even sooner but stranded six runners in scoring position in the first five innings.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.