Shadyside blanked in Class 2A

ELM GROVE – It didn’t take Shadyside head coach Jillian Ongley long to realize that Tuesday just wasn’t going to be a good day for her Lady Tigers.

Ace pitcher Megan Heagney walked the first two Wheeling Central hitters of the game, including lead-off hitter Joni Zavolta on four pitches.

The Lady Knights made Heagney and the Lady Tigers (9-5) pay, not only in that inning with four runs, but time and time again en route to a convincing ,10-0, victory in a 6-inning shortened mercy-rule game during the OVAC Softball Tournament Class 2A semifinals at the J.B. Chambers’ I-470 Complex.

“I don’t know that she’s ever walked the lead-off batter on four pitches,” Ongley confessed. “We kind of knew at that point that things weren’t going to go our way. Give Wheeling Central credit because they took advantage of every opportunity and really made us pay.”

The Lady Knights, who are now 16-7, will return to I-470 for Saturday’s 10 a.m. title game against the winner of today’s 4 p.m. encounter, pitting top-seeded Steubenville Central against No. 4 Cameron.

“This (championship) game is where we want to be,” said Central head coach Rick Magruder. “For us, this starts our run. We put it all in line to be playing our best ball at this time of the year. We just tell the girls to come out and play hard, have some fun and see what happens.”

The Lady Knights certainly had a lot of fun and what they saw happen was Shadyside commit seven errors, amass only four innocent singles and really never truly threaten to score against Lady Knights’ pitcher Sarah Henry.

“Sarah pitched well and we stressed that we wanted to jump on them early because they did that to us last year,” Magruder said.

“We wanted to keep the pressure on and we did because we hit the ball pretty hard today.”

The Knights made it 5-0 in the third and then tacked on three more in the fourth when first baseman Ashley Gast took a Heagney belt-high offering deep into the afternoon for a 3-run home run.

“Something wasn’t in line for us today because we just didn’t play like ourselves,” Ongley admitted. “We played great two games against Martins Ferry on Saturday, but we just couldn’t get it going today. It wasn’t for lack of effort and the girls were ready to play. It just didn’t go our way.”

That wasn’t the last time the Lady Knights played long ball. Two batters following Allie Cook’s lead-off triple, shortstop Sydney Bennington deposited a Heagney pitch over the left-center fence for a walk-off home run.

“When we’re hitting the ball, we’re pretty tough,” Magruder said. “The key for us is the top three hitters getting on base for our big bats in the middle. Lately, we’ve been doing a good job of that.”

All told, the Lady Knights pounded out 10 hits. Vanessa Saseen had a double, Henry helped her own cause with a RBI double in the first. Bennington also had a double and Gast drove in a run with a single in the first.

Shadyside 000 000 – 0 4 7

Wheeling Central 401 302 – 10 10 2

Batteries: Heagney and Dunn. Henry and Visnick.

Staskey can be reached at