ST. CLAIRSVILLE - It's not very often that a freshman can make a bold prediction, and then live up to it.
However, Martins Ferry's Tyrah King is not your ordinary freshman.
Prior to the start of the softball season, King told her coaches that she would like to hit six home runs this season.
MARTINS FERRY’S Brooklyn Monroe (2) crosses the plate Tuesday afternoon as St. Clairsville catcher Carlee Gillespie awaits the throw from the outfield. The Purple Riders posted a 10-0 victory in six innings.
Tuesday afternoon at Lady Red Devils Field, the heavy-hitting Purple Rider frosh backed up that lofty statement when she capped a 4-for-4 day with a line drive laser over the leftfield fence that put the finishing touches on a 10-0 shellacking of the the hosts.
"It feels pretty good," the mild-mannered King allowed. "It's nice to be a freshman and be able to come out and prove myself.
"I had my mind set on hitting six," she said of her prediction. "I didn't know if I would reach it or not, but I guess I did."
She added a pair of singles and a double that produced three runs.
"I was a little nervous because she broke her bat yesterday (Monday), but her mom came through with a quick replacement and, obviously, she doesn't mind that one either," Martins Ferry head coach Paige Williams said of her prized 9th-grader.
Senior Cassie Hanson also knocked in a trio of runs with a single, double and sacrifice fly before leaving the game with an undisclosed leg injury. King and Hanson combined for half of the Purple Gang's dozen hits.
"They made up for yesterday when we only had two," Williams said of a 2-1 win at Steubenville on Monday. "We were as flat as can be Monday. It was like night and day today, but I like the team that showed up today."
Martins Ferry took no prisoners as it tallied three times in the first and second innings for a quick 6-0 advantage. That would be all the support that pitcher Shaye DeLeonardis would need. The crafty freshman allowed just four harmless singles, while striking out four. Once again, she didn't walk a batter, and only went to a 3-ball count on two batters. She needed just 64 pitches (45 strikes) and got a first-pitch strike on 15 of the 21 batters she faced.
"She's been pretty solid," Williams said of her ace inside the circle. "She's doing what we've asked of her. She gets a strikeout here and there and she's making the opponents hit balls that we can field."
The Purple Riders also turned in three defensive gems.
In the bottom of the first, Carlee Gillespie singled off the glove of Addie Suriano in shallow right, but rightfielder Brooklyn Monroe came up firing and nailed Gillespie trying for two bases. Later in the inning, with runners on first and second, Suriano fielded a two-hopper and tagged the runner coming from first base before firing to Kady Webb to complete the inning-ending double play.
"That was a huge play by Addie," Williams noted.
In the bottom of the fourth, King moved from left to center in replace of the injured Hanson. The first ball hit was a drive to right-center that King easily tracked down. She had three putouts in two innings.
The Purple Riders tacked on an unearned run in the fourth and added two more in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by King and Hanson to make it 9-0 before King finished things up in the sixth with her sixth roundtripper of the season that ties Kayla Lewis for the Martins Ferry single-season record.
"I knew I had power so this doesn't surprise me," King said of her six home runs.
St. Clairsville head coach Rachel Duncan was not at all pleased with her team's effort.
"They came to win and we gave it to them. We didn't have the confidence that we should've had and we didn't give them our fullest potential.
"If you get down like we did, you have got to have the attitude that you can come back, and we lacked the confidence and intensity. We just didn't bring it today."
In addition to King and Hanson, others joining the Purple hit parade included Suriano with a single, double and RBI; and DeLeonardis with a single, triple and RBI.
Martins Ferry was scheduled to host Wheeling Central today at 4 p.m. St. Clairsville faces Wheeling Park at the I-470 Complex.
M. Ferry 331 201-10 12 1
St. Clairs.000 000- 0 4 3
Batteries: DeLeonardis and Hotlosz. Figura and Gillespie
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