STEUBENVILLE - The Big Red softball team had plenty of reasons to celebrate.
Sierra Fields delivered a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth inning to lift Big Red to a 5-3 victory over Shadyside Wednesday at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
The hit by Fields not only won the game against the Tigers, but it gave the Red-and-Black its ninth-straight win as well as a school record 19 wins on the season.
"This is our 19th win of the season which gives us the most wins in school history in a single season, so I guess it is a big win for us," second-year Big Red head coach Gus DiMarzio said. "It is a huge win for us. It is a huge win for our program. It is a huge win for our school."
Big Red's winning streak dates back to a win on April 21 at Weir.
"We hung with them," Shadyside head coach Jillian Ongley said. "I am proud of the girls. Big Red is a great team. They won the OVACs. I thought this would be a great week to play them. I thought it would be great practice for our girls heading into sectionals.
"We hung with them. That is a positive, but I hate to lose."
Freshman Hayley Stamps overcame a rough fourth inning to record the win. Stamps struck out three while walking two.
Offensively, Big Red (19-7) pounded out eight hits.
Individually, Fields finished with two doubles and three RBIs, Mytia Barker recorded two singles and an RBI and Tenia Barker belted a single and a double. Also, freshman Na Banks plated a run with a sacrifice fly, and classmate Rhiannon Petrisko collected a base hit.
Megan Heagney took the loss for the Tigers. She struck out eight while issuing three free passes.
"She pitched well," Ongley said. "She is battling an illness. We have three or four girls with head colds. They are taking antibiotics. We played well for having girls who are sick."
Offensively, Shadyside (9-9) tallied seven hits.
Individually, Heagney helped her own cause with a pair of doubles and a single, Shelby Benedetta and Betanie Ramsey each collected a single and an RBI and Sam Rosser recorded an RBI. Also, Katie Heath contributed a base hit.
"Shadyside is a good team," DiMarzio said. "They played in the Class 2A Final against Wheeling Central. They are no slouch. They hit the ball. They put the ball in play.
"We just did what we had to do. When you win, you can't complain. You can wish that you play better, but you can't complain."
Big Red opened the scoring by plating three runs in the third inning to build a 3-0 advantage.
Biasi started the inning by drawing a walk. After a strikeout, Tenia Barker doubled giving Big Red runners on second and third. Fields followed with a bloop double down the left-field line scoring Biasi making it 1-0. Banks followed with a sacrifice fly to center scoring Barker increasing the hosts lead to 2-0. Mytia Barker followed with a base hit of her own scoring Fields.
"Our outfielders had a hard time judging the ball," Ongley said. "We were playing deep."
The Tigers clawed their way back in the fourth.
Linsdey Dunn was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Heagney followed with a double to give the visitors from Belmont County runners on second and third with no outs. Benedetta plated the Tigers first run of the game with a base hit scoring Dunn making it 3-1. Sarah Dierkes reached on a fielder's choice, but Heagney was thrown out at the plate by Banks, Big Red's third baseman.
Ramsey kept things rolling with a base hit scoring Benedetta pulling the Orange-and-Black to within 3-2. Next, Rosser plated Dierkes with the tying run when she reached on an error at first tying the score at 3.
The momentum was on Shadyside's side, but Big Red bounced back to regain the lead in the home half of the inning.
Biasi once again started the inning off by getting on base. The second baseman reached on an error. Then after a strikeout, Tenia Barker singled setting the table or Fields, who plated her two teammates with a shot into the gap giving Big Red the lead back at 5-3.
"It was huge for us to come right back," DiMarzio said. "At the beginning of the game, for the first three innings of the game, we started off flat. It was like we felt that all we had to do was show up and walk on the field and the game would end. It doesn't work that way.
"You have to compete every pitch, every inning, every at-bat and every out. In the first three innings, we didn't do that. We stood around and watched them play.
The Tigers had a golden opportunity to tie the score in the fifth.
With one out, Dunn walked, and Heagney delivered her second double of the game advancing Dunn to third. The visitors were in good position to score, but things did not turn out that way.
Benedetta hit a ground ball to third, and Dunn was tagged out by shortstop Tenia Barker during a rundown. Next, Dierkes grounded out to Banks to end the threat.
Both teams are scheduled to play again at 5 p.m. today. Shadyside is slated to play at Buckeye Local, while Big Red is scheduled to play against East Liverpool on Senior Night back at the university.
Big Red 5, Shadyside 3
Shadyside 000 300 0 - 3 6 2
Big Red 003 200 X - 5 8 2
SHADYSIDE (9-9): Heagney (LP, 8K, 3BB) and Dunn; Heath S; Heagney S, 2D; Benedetta S, RBI; Ramsey S, RBI; Rosser RBI.
BIG RED (19-7): Stamps (WP, 3K, 2BB) and M. Barker; T. Barker S, D; Fields 2D, 3RBI; Banks RBI; M. Barker 2S, RBI; Petrisko S.