Edison outlasts St. Clairsville

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Edison and St. Clairsville have developed quite a rivalry in softball over the past decade. Tuesday night was no different.

Kenzie Morrison’s two-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth lifted the visiting Wildcats (10-4) to a come-from-behind, 7-5, victory over the Red Devils on the North Market Street diamond. Morrison, who was 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, sent the first pitch she saw from St. Clairsville ace Amaya Smith just over the 200-foot fence in left for what turned out to be the game-winning runs.

“She had a couple of at-bats that didn’t go her way. I told her right before the at bat to relax and see the ball,” veteran Edison head coach Spencer Bendle said of Morrison. “That’s what we tell the girls. Get a good at-bat and forget about what you’ve done before.”

The roundtripper allowed Edison to rally from deficits of 3-0 and 5-2, the latter being after five innings. However, a three-run sixth allowed the Wildcats to draw even.

“This was a very disappointing loss,” first-year St. Clairsville head coach Ron Hummel said. “You’ve got to give credit to Edison. They hit the ball very well and we made some good plays. Both teams stranded a lot of runners, but they got the key hits when they needed them.”

The Red Devils (7-5) took a 1-0 lead when Ari Reager raced home on Hannah Stachyra’s suicide-squeeze bunt in the second. They added a pair in the fourth to make it 3-0 one run scored on an error and the other on Smith’s RBI double.

Edison got two of those runs back in the top of the fifth when Sami Springer smacked a two-out double to left-center The Wildcats pulled even an inning later on a bases-loaded walk to No. 9 hitter Emily Ferrell and Skylar Fankhauser’s bloop single over third base that plated two runs.

It appeared as though St. Clairsville would walk-off a winner in the seventh, but Reager’s deep fly to left was caught by Ferrell just in front of the fence.

Edison had a runner called out at the plate trying to score on a wild pitch in the eighth, but rallied to win it in the ninth.

Charli McConnell led off the ninth with a single to center. She went to second on a sacrifice bunt and took third on a groundout, which set the stage for Morrison’s heroics.

“St. Clairsville has a really good ballclub. They’ve got good girls in their lineup and they are well-coached,” Bendle said. “We need to play games like this. We’ve had a couple of games lately that we’ve been flat and not as focused as we need to be. We need games like this to be tournament ready.

“We were able to overcome a lot of mistakes, especially early in the game when we took ourselves out of a couple of innings on the bases,” Bendle noted. “We’ve done that lately and we need to take care of that, as well as our defense. To overcome all of that stuff and win a game against this team is a compliment to our girls.”

Charli McConnell had two singles and a double to pace the Wildcats’ 11-hit attack. Springer doubled twice to plate two runs and Tommi McConnell had a pair of singles.

Charlie McConnell went the distance, striking out four and issuing three walks.

Reager had two singles, a double and RBI, while Bre Bennington slapped two singles. Madison Vickers had a double and sacrifice fly.

“If we would have had a key hit earlier in the game, the outcome might have been different,” Hummel revealed. “It was a tough loss, but the girls didn’t quit and we’ll rebound.”

St. Clairsville visits Meadowbrook Thursday.

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