ST. CLAIRSVILLE - It was Alli Delaney's day and the rest of her Union Local teammates were happy to go along for the ride.
The Jets began Division III sectional play with an impressive pitching and hitting performance from the sophomore and went on to post a 2-0 victory against Bellaire (14-11) on the home diamond of St. Clairsville on a summer-like evening Tuesday.
"Alli hasn't pitched a whole lot of innings this year," Union Local head coach Roger Herbert said. "The key for us, and her today, was only one walk and no errors defensively. I always tell the girls that every walk, plus every error, equals a run. But, none of that happened today."
UNION LOCAL’S Alli Delaney works to the plate during Tuesday’s Division III sectional tournament in St. Clairsville. Additional images can be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
The Jets wasted little time in jumping on Bellaire, scoring in the first inning.
Senior lead-off hitter Cori Medley reached first on an illegal pitch and then was promptly moved up 60 feet on a sacrifice bunt.
From there, Delaney helped her own cause. She took a Sarah McAninch belt-high fastball into the left-field gap for a ringing double, plating Medley without a throw.
"Timely hitting is huge," Herbert said. "We finally got the key hit with a runner in scoring position. It's something we've been preaching and looking for all season."
As it turned out, that run proved to be plenty for Delaney, who had Bellaire hitters off-balance much of the afternoon.
"When we can't string together hits, we struggle," Bellaire head coach Melissa Lahna said of her team's three scattered singles. "I thought we played well, but when you don't get the timely hits, you're not going to score. I am proud of the girls and the season we had."
Union Local produced another unearned run in the third in a similar manner. Medley reached, Bailey Lohr sacrificed her up and DeLaney went shopping at the gap.
Bellaire had only one runner reach scoring position all afternoon and had multiple runners on in only the third inning.
"Alli's pitching was the story of the game," Herbert said. "She just did a great job."
When Bellaire did hit the ball hard, the Jets were positioned perfectly and made the plays. Lohr, the second baseman, snared a pair of liners, including one in the seventh when she climbed the ladder to save a hit that could have went to the gap.
"We hit the ball hard and right at people, but give Union Local credit for making the plays," Lahna said. "It just wasn't in the cards for us today. We had some opportunities, but we just couldn't string the hits together."
Union Local's offense had only three hits against McAninch, who suffered the tough-luck loss in the circle.
Delaney fanned nine and issued just one free pass en route to the complete-game win.
Union Local seeks a trip to the district against Harrison Central today at approximately 6:30 p.m. back in St. C.
Union Local 101 000 0 - 2 3 0
Bellaire 000 000 0 - 0 3 3
UL - DeLaney wp (9K, 1W) and Medley. DeLaney 2D, 2RBI.
B - McAninch lp (5K, 1W) and Messenger.