Ferry girls cruise by Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT – Holding onto a precarious 2-0 lead entering the top of the seventh, debuting Martins Ferry delivered the knockout punch. The Purple Riders sent 13 batters to the plate in their final at-bat, with eight of them scoring in a 10-0 blanking of host Bridgeport on Monday night in girls’ high school softball action on Irene Ehni Field.

Junior catcher Krissy Hotlosz ignited the 8-run outburst, which was aided by some bad fielding on the Bulldogs part. Hotlosz laced the 10th pitch she saw up the middle for a single. Six of the next seven batters reached base safely and scored.

“We came out pretty flat and our bats weren’t active for six innings,” Martins Ferry head coach Paige Williams said. “Krissy got a nice hit there and started the inning off for us. That was a good inning for us.”

Following Hotlosz’s single, which came after she fouled off a half-a-dozen offerings from Bridgeport freshman Miranda Bowers, Brooklyn Monroe dropped a bloop single into shallow left. With one out, No. 9 hitter Kelsey Spielvogel singled to right as Hotlosz came around to score. Morgan Stalder doubled in two runs to make it 5-0. DeLeonardis helped her own cause with an RBI single.

Back-to-back fielder’s choices and a throwing error allowed three more runs to score. Hotlosz, batting for the second time in the inning, slapped another base knock that produced a run. Katie Southerland capped the uprising with an RBI single to center.

“We played them really good for six innings, but that seventh inning … ,” Bridgeport head coach Tom Joseph explained. “That girl led off with that long at-bat and then got on base. That’s when we started making some really bone-headed plays.”

The game was scoreless for three frames as DeLeonardis and Bowers were exchanging goose eggs. However, that changed in the Martins Ferry fourth.

DeLeonardis reached on an error leading off and freshman Mercedez McLeod doubled to the fence in left-center. Tyrah King followed with a line drive to the same place that resulted in a double and both runners scoring for a 2-0 cushion.

Even though she wasn’t her sharpest, DeLeonardis persevered and went the distance. The sophomore struck out seven and walked two, while scattering five singles. She retired nine of the final 10 batters she faced.

“I think nerves affected her a little bit early on,” Williams noted. “It was like she was aiming the ball instead of pitching it.”

Bridgeport did threaten in its half of the fourth as Bowers, Peyton Stewart and Dakota Dobrzynski all rapped back-to-back-to-back singles with one out. However, after Bowers had singled, she was promptly picked off.

“That girl is a freshman,” Joseph said of Bowers. “She’ll bounce back.”

There were some things that pleased Williams, but there were also some things that didn’t – namely baserunning.

“I’m not a big fan of erasing opportunities to score on the basepaths,” she disclosed. “It’s early in the season and we’re usually pretty aggressive on the bases. We took some chances that didn’t work out, but we’ll work on that.”

Bowers struck out a pair and walked one.

Martins Ferry will make its home debut high atop the Purple City today when winless Linsly invades for a 5 p.m. first pitch. Bridgeport (2-1) is idle until Wednesday when it hosts Barnesville.

Linescore:

Martins Ferry 000 200 8 – 10 11 1

Bridgeport 000 000 0 – 0 5 5

MF-DeLeonardis wp (7K, 2W) and Hotlosz; DeLeonardis S, rbi; McLeod S, D; King S, D, 2rbi; Hotlosz 2S, rbi; Southerland S, rbi; Spielvogel S, rbi

B-Bowers lp (2K, 1W) and Renzler

North can be reached at knorth@timesleaderonline.com