Big Red stops Bears

STEUBENVILLE – One day after winning two games, the Big Red softball team kept rolling along. The Red-and-Black pounded 12 hits leading to 12 runs en route to a 12-2 victory in five innings over Oak Glen Tuesday evening at Jim Wood Park.

“We’ll take it,” Big Red (9-10) head coach Gus DiMarzio said. “I am happy with the way we hit the ball. When you win, you can’t really be upset. As a coach, you are always finding things to talk about, but when you win you can’t complain.

“I thought we lost focus in the third and fourth innings. We didn’t make some plays. I was disappointed with that, but we made up for it at the plate.”

For the Golden Bears, the loss followed an all too familiar storyline.

“It’s frustrating,” Oak Glen (6-16) head coach Michelle McHaffie said. “We have been up and down. One bad inning has destroyed us in each game. They scored eight runs in that inning. It was 2-1, and they scored eight runs. Then, we had a 1-2-3 inning after that.”

Brooke Carroll pitched well en route to the victory, and all nine batters in the lineup recorded at least one hit.

Carroll struck out four and walked four. She limited the Golden Bears to four singles.

Offensively, the heart of the order did the most damage for Big Red.

Christina Archer recorded a double and a two-run home run, Casey Gentile tallied a single, a double and three RBI and Mallory Giannamore contributed two singles and two RBI. Also, Lauren Gray delivered an RBI double, and Mytia Barker produced a two-run single.

Maryssa Durante took the loss for the Golden Bears. She struck out one and walked four.

Durante was also hit by some miscues in the field. Oak Glen committed four errors, while Big Red played a clean game.

Offensively, Ashley Pryor produced a single and two RBI.

Big Red has made quite the turnaround in the last couple of weeks. Big Red began the season at 3-9, but the team has stepped up its play to pull within one game of the .500 mark for the season.

“Belief,” DiMarzio said about what has changed in his team in the last couple of weeks. “They are believing they can win. We have been able to gain some momentum. Having momentum is big in sports.

“You can believe, but sometimes you have that doubt in the back of your mind. Our girls are believing. They believe in what is going on. It is carrying us over the top. That is a great thing.

“We want to finish strong. We want to peak at the right time. I don’t know if we are peaking, but we are 9-10 after starting the season at 3-9. We have won six out of our last seven.”

The first batter of the game for Big Red set the tone for the game. Durante delivered a pitch to Tenia Barker, but the pitch bounced in front of the plate. Undeterred, Big Red’s shortstop swung the bat and hit the ball for a base hit. She ended up stealing second base on a close play.

Next, Biasi popped the ball up between home plate and third base. Durante came out of the circle to catch the ball, but she was unable to get her glove on the ball. The ball landed in fair territory and bounced foul, but the home plate umpire ruled the ball bounced off Durante’s leg before going into foul ground allowing Biasi to reach first base safely.

Then with two outs, Gentile launched a ball that bounced between two Oak Glen outfielders for a two-run double to put Big Red out in front 2-0.

After a scoreless second stanza, the visitors recorded a run in the third to cut its deficit in half. With two outs, Pryor recorded a base hit scoring Shayni Vega, who led off the frame by drawing a walk. Crane followed with a perfectly placed ball on the infield for base hit of her own to keep things going, however, Andrews slid into a tag at the plate on the play to end the inning with the score 2-1.

The rest of the game belonged to Big Red.

In the third, Gray ripped a double down the left-field line that bounced in fair territory scoring a run. Giannamore plated a pair of runs when a ball ended up finding space on the field just out of reach of two Golden Bear fielders.

Just about the only ball that did not bounced Big Red’s way in the game was in the second inning when Archer blasted a ball that bounced off the yellow line on top of the fence in centerfield. Archer ended up on second base with a double.

Also in the third, Archer added a little more power to the ball as she belted it over the fence resulting in a two-run home run.

Oak Glen scored a run in the top of the fifth to make the score 10-2, but Big Red scored two unearned runs on an error with the bases loaded and no outs to end the game.

Big Red is scheduled to return to the field today at 5 p.m. against Brooke.

“We have had a couple close losses that could have gone either way,” DiMarzio said.

“The Cambridge game we lost our focus for an inning. We lost a close game to a good Martins Ferry team.

“When you lose a close game, it is the coach’s fault, but I’m really happy with the girls right now. They are believing. Hopefully, we can keep things rolling. I’m proud of the girls as always.

“They are playing Big Red tough. If you are not Big Red tough, you can’t play here.”

Oak Glen’s next game is 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Toronto.

“Hopefully, we are able to pull together and win some games,” McHaffie said.

Big Red 12, Oak Glen 2

Oak Glen 001 01 – 2 4 4

Big Red 208 02 – 12 12 0

OAK GLEN (6-16): Marissa Durante (LP, 1K, 4BB) and Crane; Young S, Pryor S, 2 RBI; Crane S; Andrews S.

BIG RED (9-10): Carroll (WP, 4K, 4BB) and M. Barker; T. Barker S; Biasi S; Giannamore 2S, RBI; M. Barker S, 2 RBI; Gentile S, D, 3 RBI; Gray D, RBI; Archer D, HR, 2 RBI; Bodo S; Taylor S.