ELYRIA — The Pioneers opened the 18th annual Elyria Softball Classic with a solid victory over crosstown rival Elyria Catholic, but then were stunned by Division IV’s Bristol in the second round Friday night.
In the opener, junior Izzie St. Peter kept her cool in the pitcher’s circle, defusing the Panthers’ biggest inning in the sixth and finishing with 11 strikeouts in a 6-2 win. She used a screwball, riseball and change-up to keep EC guessing.
“I was just changing up my pitches a little because when I threw it inside they were hitting the screw, so I just went out and went with my change-up,” she said. “I like using all (my pitches) because I think that plays with (the batters) a little and mixes them up. They have to adjust to that and it sometimes takes several innings before they can.”
Such was the case with EC, which couldn’t figure out St. Peter until Kaylie Griffin hit a one-out double to center field, Julia Allegretto singled up the middle and both scored on Stephanie Griffin’s bloop single to center field.
St. Peter struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam.
Meanwhile, the Pioneers put runs on the board in the second and fourth — Damia Parks doubled and scored on Kerrigan Williams’ sacrifice fly, then Maycee Godbolt doubled, advanced to third on Parks’ groundout and scored on Williams’ groundout — before putting the game away with two runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings, aided by an RBI triple from Jessica Chapman, an RBI single by Mallory Phares and a pair of EC errors.
“Elyria’s always been strong, ever since I was there, and it seems like they have strong hitters 1-9 and even their bench is strong,” EC coach Megan Bashak said. “I told (the EC players), ‘Be proud. They average about 10 runs a game and they’ve been run-ruling everybody.’ At the same time, they shouldn’t have scored as many runs as they did. Our defense wasn’t as strong as it (has been).”
Errors were the Pioneers’ demise in the second game, a 9-8 loss, as they committed three in Bristol’s five-run second inning. Bristol’s other four runs came on a solo home run from Billie Miller in the first and a three-run shot by Kendyl Switzer in the fourth.
“We had a lot of errors, that’s been our downfall in our couple of losses,” Elyria coach Ken Fenik said. “We’re known for playing better defense and right now we’re like a sieve out there. The girls will get better, we’ll keep working at it because we’re not where we want to be.”
Elyria outhit Bristol 15-7, with Phares and Godbolt hitting doubles, Chapman and Williams each driving in a pair of runs and Petrisko, Chapman, Phares and Fenik all finishing with two hits.
“We had a lot of hits, but they made some good plays at shortstop,” Fenik said. “We would have had a couple more bloops if she wasn’t 7-foot tall, but that’s how it goes.”
It was a bounce-back game for Bristol, which lost its opener 14-8 to Columbia. The small school — it lists an enrollment of 62 girls on OHSAA’s website — near Warren was also victimized by shoddy defense.
“We had a lot of errors, a tough defensive game, but we bounced right back for this game, came out and played well,” Bristol coach Alisha Kugler said. “We hit the ball really well and our pitching and defense held up. I was concerned with some of the (Elyria) hitters we were going to see, but we held them at bay really well.”
The third and final round of the tournament takes place at 9 o’clock this morning at Vic Janowicz Memorial Park. Elyria will face Columbia, Midview will face Elyria Catholic and Fairview will face Bristol.