STEUBENVILLE - It was a good day for the Steubenville softball team against Weir Monday at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Big Red scored 12 runs over three at-bats to claim a 14-5 win over the Red Riders in a continuation of a rain suspended game from April 10, and then pounded out 15 runs on 15 hits - including a 12-run second frame - to claim a 15-5 win in five innings.
"When we were at Weirton the first time we didn't have good focus," said Big Red head coach Gus DiMarzio. "We lost our focus. I don't want to say lost it. I don't know that we ever had it from the get-go. Actually the rain, and the suspended game, probably helped us a little bit.
READY TO MAKE A PLAY — Steubenville first baseman Christina Archer prepares herself in the field during Big Red’s 15-4 win over Weir Monday at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Big Red also claimed a 14-5 over the Red Riders in a game continued from April 10. -- Fred Younce
"If you watched us today you'd have to say we were a completely different team than we've been. I'm very proud of them because we haven't lost any fight. We've lost some close games, we've battled, and I think they're starting to understand if you play every pitch, and you compete every pitch, every out, every at bat good things happen.
"You have to keep doing it though. In the beginning I don't think we understood that. I think right now we're a little bit better with that."
Weir held a 3-2 lead when the first game resumed in the bottom of the fourth, but could never seem to get things rolling against Steubenville.
"We don't want to make any excuses," said Weir head coach Dave Hinerman. "They hit the ball when they needed to, and they fielded it when they needed to. We were definitely flat. No excuses."
Brooke Carroll earned the Game 1 victory, striking out eight. Christina Archer carried the big bat for Big Red with a single, double, and grand slam, all over the final three frames. Lead off hitter Mallory Giannamore had a pair of doubles, and accounted for a quartet runs in the game.
Ashlyn Drizake had a two-run home run for the Lady Riders and Micah DiBacco sat down nine Big Red batters on strikes in the contest.
Big Red's momentum carried over into the second contest as the home team broke out away early with a 12-run second inning and cruised to the 10-run win.
"Momentum is a crazy thing in athletics because if you have it on your side the sky's the limit," said DiMarzio. "When you don't have it then it seems like you press too much. I think the key today was we came in a really good frame of mind, ready to play.
"When I watched us warm up I thought today was going to be a good day. I was pretty happy with the way they focused in the first game, took a ten minute break, and then played even better in the second game.
"As a coach I can say I'm pretty happy, but I can always say there's room for improvement in everything you do, and as long as these kids keep fighting like Big Red kids always do, I think we'll continue to get better."
Added Hinerman of the second game, " I thought we'd play much better in the second game, but we didn't. When you let a team score 12 runs in an inning you're not going to beat anybody."
Archer struck again with a second inning, three-run, blast that made the score 11-1. She also added a single in her first at-bat of the frame. Giannamore, Mytia Barker, and Brittany Bodo each contributed a double and a single with Abby Taylor adding three singles. Anna Perrino was the winning pitcher, striking out three over the full five.
Morgan Rice connected for a pair of doubles while Drizake and Meikka Buffo each had a pair of singles for the Red Riders.
According to DiMarzio, Big Red, which hosts Oak Glen today at Jim Wood Park, received a little boost before Monday's games.
"I'm proud of my kids because they fight and they play really hard, but I think the difference in today's game was we brought a new batting practice pitcher in today," he said. "Joe Biasi was our batting practice pitcher, and it made a world of difference in the game."
Weir welcomes Toronto Wednesday.
"We're gonna go back home and lick out wounds, and we're going to come out and practice tomorrow," said Hinerman. "We're supposed to play Toronto on Wednesday, and then we have a doubleheader on Saturday.
"I think you'll see a different team."