MEDINA — Elyria coach Ken Fenik said junior designated player Alex Dick is usually good for at least one hit a game.
Thankfully for the Pioneers, she had two hits in her Monday.
Dick, who went 2-for-4, hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning to propel Elyria to a 7-5 win over Medina in a Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division game.
Elyria (14-7, 4-2) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but when the Bees scored a run in the bottom of the seventh that advantage was gone and the game was tied at 5. Things looked ever worse for the Pioneers when Elizabeth Ellis issued two consecutive walks to load the bases with one out.
Then Elyria shortstop Carly Bachna fielded a one-hopper off the bat of Sami Holzman, fired the ball home to catcher Kaitlyn Laseke, who stepped on home and then threw to third basemen Dierra Hammons to complete a 6-2-5 double play and send the game into extra innings.
That was when Dick, who was due to hit third in the next inning, started to think about the opportunity that awaited her.
“I knew I was coming up in the eighth and I got a little nervous, but I also got really excited,” Dick said.
“With Kaitlyn on second base I really thought coach was going to tell me to bunt, but he told me to go up and hit it. I was just trying to get it into the outfield.”
Dick did that and then some, sending the ball over the fence in left-center and the Pioneers fans that waited out a
30-minute, third-inning lighting delay, home happy.
“We knew if kept playing hard we could win this game,” said left fielder Anna Daly, who went 2-for-4 and drove in three runs. “Coach Fenik kept telling us just to keep hitting the ball and everything would eventually fall into place.”
Medina, 15-3 overall, suffered its first loss in five NOC games.
The Bees’ defense failed starting pitcher Megan Paradise, committing three errors which led to the first five Elyria runs, all unearned.
The first two Elyria batters in the second inning reached base on errors, leading to a four-run inning. In the fifth, Bachna reached base on another error and scored on a Daly single.
Ellis pitched just well enough to contain the high-powered Medina offense and improved to 12-5.
“I was struggling in the first couple innings but it calmed my nerves a lot to know we had a four-run lead,” Ellis said. “Then in the seventh inning it got really scary.”
“This was a big win for us,” Ellis said. “We knew we needed to come here and win if we wanted to turn the season around.”
Ellis put her early struggles aside in the eighth inning, retiring the Bees in order while striking out pinch hitter Allison Stack to end the game.
“I told the girls before the game, ‘Hey, this is the time of year we need to get playing hot and it starts today with Medina,’” Fenik said. “Medina is a great team and they’re going to do well in the tournament. Now that our girls saw that we could go on the road and beat a team like this, who knows what we can do from here.”
Fenik’s teams have won at least a share of the title in four conferences — Erie Shore, Pioneer, Lake Erie League and NOC — and 18 times in his 19 seasons as coach. They are on egame behind the Bees in the loss column.
“Today was one of the biggest games of the year,” Dick said. “This win means we’re back in the conference title chase.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.