St. John Central used solid defense and timely hitting in defeating invading Monroe Central, 8-1, Monday afternoon at Amanda's Field in Bellaire. Jerry Magistro's Lady Irish are now 6-2 and are scheduled to host Shadyside this evening. The Seminoles are 1-4 and will travel to Fort Frye.
"We have been making contact and hitting the ball hard, but it's been right at people," claimed the successful Magistro. "Today, we found some gaps and were able to score. I felt we had a chance to get a couple more, but their shortstop (Alex Kuhn) made some very athletic plays and saved a few runs."
The Johnnies plated a pair in the opening inning when starting pitcher Ayla Spoljar crushed a sacrifice fly followed by Gina Beckman's RBI single. Monroe answered in the second when Kuhn singled up the middle chasing home Erica Hooper who reached via a throwing error.
ST. JOHN catcher Rosa Young tags out Monroe Central’s Anne LaFollette on a play at the plate during Monday afternoon’s game in Bellaire. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
Spoljar slammed the door on the 'Noles for the next five frames. The Green's senior Jordan Nickerson snared two shots to right and gunned down a runner tagging from third to turn in a fine defensive effort. Rosa Young was also a defensive standout from behind the dish. The junior threw out one runner attempting to steal and made a sweet diving catch of a foul ball.
"Defensively, we were very solid tonight and Ayla (Spoljar) moved the ball around keeping them off balance," stated Magistro. "We are holding it together, but we have been banged up and are playing some kids who have very little varsity experience. We can't afford to lose anyone because we just don't have the numbers."
In the third, the Irish pulled away behind a two run single from Young. Spoljar cracked her second sacrifice to aide her cause making the count 5-1.
"We got beat by a very good team today," remarked Monroe boss Missy Knowlton. "We are young and still trying to find our way, but I'm proud of the girls because today we did not have one error. They just hit the ball very well. We can build on this and I know we will keep improving."
The Green tallied three insurance runs in the sixth. With two outs, Kaydie Coppa rapped a run scoring single followed by Young's hit that chased in a pair.
Spoljar notched the mound decision with four K's and one hit batter. Kuhn suffered the defeat before moving to short. She fanned two, walked one and hit one batter before being replaced in the fifth frame by Asia Prickett who passed two in relief.
Young paced the winners with three singles and four ribbies. Lending support was Coppa with two base hits and an RBI. Nickerson rapped a pair of hits and Haley DeCoy added a base hit.
For Monroe, Anne Lafollette crushed a three bagger and a base hit. Chelsea Roberts had a double and single. Prickett cracked a double and Kelsey parks added a base hit.
Monroe 010 0001 6 0
St. John 203 003 8 9 2
Batteries: Kuhn, Prickett and Covert; Spoljar and Young.