By John Bombatch
RIVERSIDE — Like most first times in high school varsity softball action, the game’s outcome left both teams’ coaches encouraged, but not completely satisfied. Both coaches referred to the wild fifth inning of Wednesday’s 10-5 Kettering Fairmont win over host Carroll.
Carroll first-year coach Cassandra Shea liked how her youthful Patriots bunch scraped across five runs in the fifth. At the same time, Firebirds coach Adrienne Schlereth liked nearly every aspect of her team’s play — except for that brief team implosion in the fifth.
Heading into the bottom half of the fifth inning, Fairmont enjoyed an 8-0 lead, and a lopsided win seemed almost inevitable. But that’s when Carroll strung together three of their four hits in the game, capitalized on a Firebird throwing error and scored those five runs.
Hayley Hentrich singled, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch, then scored on Tina Davis’s single just past third. Megan Wonderly later drew a two-out walk, reached second on the Davis single, then scored along with Marina Stevens on Emma Hughes’ double. Camryn Joseph reached on a Firebird errant throw to first and later scored, and Davis eventually scored as well to enable Carroll (0-1) to close the gap to just 8-5 with two innings left to play.
But Fairmont (1-0) plated two more runs in the sixth for the final margin.
“We really do have a solid pitching staff,” said Schlereth. “We didn’t even use our top pitcher today. … We’ve got a few kinks to work out, but I think overall we’re going to have a pretty good season. We had about 3-4 errors in that fifth inning, so we need to eliminate that one bad inning, but I think we’re going to be all right.”
Staff ace Danielle Wilhelm did not play. The Firebird senior fanned 74 batters and had a 1.18 earned-run average a year ago. Instead, no. 2 pitcher Keira Teserovitch struckout 10 Patriots batters over the first five innings of play. Sophomore Ashley Davis then threw no-hit ball in the final two innings to seal the win.
Fairmont’s Shelbi Tharp led the Firebird hitters with a 4-for-5 outing at the plate, including a solo home run over the left-field fencing.
Despite the loss, Shea said she was pretty satisfied with how her young bunch played in their first time out this season.
“We’re a young team, and we have a lot of players with very little varsity experience, so we’re starting from scratch and trying to change the culture of this program,” Shea said. “We gave up too many errors, but in that fifth inning we found a way to put the ball in play and to force them into making a few errors also. … Win or lose, we’re giving 100 percent all the way through.”
Shea named Davis as her MVP for getting the fifth-inning scoring spurt going with her single to third. Earlier in the game, Davis was hit on the batting helmet and reached based the hard way.
Carroll starting pitcher Emma Hughes beat a throw from short for an infield single, and stole second, in the second inning. She doubled in that fifth-inning scoring spree to score a pair of Patriot runs.
Fairmont continues on the road today, with a Greater Western Ohio Conference matchup at Clayton Northmont, and Carroll will also be on the road today. The Patriots travel to West Carrollton for another matchup against a GWOC foe.
John Bombatch can be reached at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.