PREP SOFTBALL Three-run outburst keys N. Falls

Freshman Lindsey McCartney blanked Champion over the final eight innings.
CHAMPION -- They had a good, old fashioned pitching duel at the Champion complex Friday in a Trumbull Athletic Conference softball game between Newton Falls and Champion.
In fact, the mound work was so good that it seemed the game would go on forever, with Newton Falls freshman Lindsey McCartney and Champion junior Stephanie Weaver brilliantly facing off against each other through eight innings of a 1-1 deadlock.
Through a neutral fan's perspective, it was the type of game nobody should have to lose, but somebody did. Newton Falls defeated Champion 4-1 in nine innings.
McCartney (8-3), a freshman, allowed a Champion (5-4, 2-3) run in the first and then blanked the Flashes through the following eight innings.
Strong pitching
Scattering six hits through the extra-inning game, the durable freshman ace had only two walks while striking out four as she, though her team made big plays behind her, survived a four-error output.
"This was a team win, with the people behind me doing the job," McCartney said.
With Champion stranding nine baserunners on two different occasions, the 15-year-old hurler stifled rallies with two runners on base, the last in the bottom of the eighth with the game on the line.
"Lindsey did a great job for us. She never lost her composure," said Newton Falls coach Harry Shaver.
The only run McCartney allowed was in the first inning. After a one-out single by Jessica Carpenter and a Beth Rowland sacrifice, with an error on the throw putting runners at second and third, a Lauren Seafert grounder to short knocked in the run.
Newton Falls' alert defensive plays and Champion's baserunning mishaps took the Golden Flashes out of a pair of potential rallies.
"We play well, but mental mistakes such as bad base running were costly," Champion coach Cheryl Weaver said.
Stephanie Weaver (4-2), who on Thursday lost 2-1 at Lakeview when she tossed a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts, was again brilliant with eight strikeouts and a three-hitter through eight innings.
A Desiree Sterling two-out bunt single, perfectly placed down the third-base line, brought home Alana Chapman in the Tigers' fifth to tie the score 1-1.
Ninth-inning rally
Newton Falls (8-3, 4-2), with nine players batting, had five of its eight hits in the game in the ninth inning, when a throwing error allowed the go-ahead run to cross the plate. Kim Drake's RBI single and a sacrifice fly by DeEsta Sheldon sent home a pair of insurance runs.
"Coach told us to keep our heads in the game and we did," said Sterling, who went 2-for-4, with a key RBI and catch in right field.
Shaver said, "When we play Champion, it is always toe to toe competition, and beating them is always a big win for us."

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