Harrison, St. C. cruise in D-III tourney debuts

ST. CLAIRSVILLE Mercy, mercy!

Both Harrison Central and St. Clairsville posted lop-sided victories in their Division III tournament openers Monday evening at the Junior Sports Complex.

The Lady Huskies hammered Union Local, 13-3, in six innings and the Lady Red Devils clobbered Bellaire, 19-6.

Harrison and St. C. will return at 5 p.m. on Thursday to meet for the right to play in the Eastern District title game.

In the opener, Harrison Central opened up a 5-0 lead in the first inning as Paige Dunlap started the rally with a triple, Kiley Staley’s RBI single pushed her the final 60 feet, Kara Dunfee doubled in Staley, Katie Ellzy hit an RBI single to plate Dunfee, Shianne Nameth drove in Ellzy and Emily Dodds hit a two-out RBI single to put up the five spot.

Ellzy took the mound and dominated the early going as she struck out 6 in the first three innings as the Jets went down in order.

Union Local got a run on a pair of hits in fourth to spoil the outing as Olivia Minamyer singled and Amanda Swallie drove her in with a double.

Ronnie Caldwell and Staley reached on errors in the bottom of the fourth and Ellzy notched a second RBI single and Jess Custer pushed her across to make it 8-1.

Maddie Schafer singled and stole second setting up an RBI single for Ali Bethel while Shayna McGary singled and scored in the top of the sixth accounting for the Jets offensive output.

Harrison added five in the bottom of the inning to evoke the run rule. Ellzy and Nameth both singled and Katie Parkinson notched a pair of RBIs on a double. Amber Cline followed with an RBI single and Staley pushed in the final pair.

Ellzy struck out a total of 8 Jets. She allowed six hits and no walks.

“Overall I am just extremely pleased we get to move on,” a relieved Harrison Central coach Don Bethel said. “I was up most of the night because I really did not know what to expect today.

“I was also happy to see that we finally cut loose,” Bethel said. “We hit the ball like we are capable of doing every game,”

THE NIGHTCAP looked like it was going to be a slugfest as the Red Devils hit for the cycle in the opening frame

Carlee Gillespie reached on an error and scored on Michaela Miller’s single. Lauren Figura blasted a two-run homer over the left center field fence. Krista Morrison tripled and Alicia Avila ripped an RBI triple down the right field line for back-to-back three-baggers.

That prompted Bellaire head coach Melissa Lahna to lift starting pitcher Megan Ging. McKenzie Otto welcomed the Lady Big Reds’ relief with a line shot down the left side that burrowed under the fence to slim the hit to a ground rule double. Summer Gallentine singled and the score was 5-0 Red Devils.

The Big Reds (17-9) were able to answer back with four of their own as Morgan Runyan singled, Ging drew a walk, McKenzie Conroy notched an RBI single, Taylar Canter singled and swiped second base before Elisha Gillespie pushed in the fourth run.

Dallas Messenger scored two more for the Big Reds but that was all for Bellaire.

“I?am proud of my 11 girls,”?Lahna said. “We had an awesome year, but it just hurts that it had to end this way. We have nothing to be ashamed of. The girls should proud of what they accomplished. We’re young and we’ll come back stronger next year.”

Meanwhile, St. Clairsville continued to roll, scoring three runs in the second and third, five more in the fourth and a pair in the sixth as they pounded out 18 hits. Avila added a pair of doubles Gillespie and Gallentine both added doubles to round out extra bases for the Lady Red Devils.

“We played with intensity and jumped on them early,” St. Clairsville head coach Rachel Duncan noted. “I think we play better when we can get out in front.”

“Our offense was our strong point tonight,” Duncan added. “We hit the ball well and I think that gives us some momentum.”

Palmer can be reached at mpalmer@timesleaderonline.com