The Springfield High senior out-dueled Mineral Ridge's Ashley Ault.
By BOB ROTH
MINERAL RIDGE -- The cold and damp weather wasn't conducive to Inter-County League softball play Monday, but the conditions had no effect on the sensational pitching of Springfield High's Maggie Marsh or Mineral Ridge's Ashley Ault.
It was reminiscent of April 10 in New Middletown, where the game also belonged to the two pitchers.
On that day, Marsh won 3-2 in nine innings. Monday, the senior left-hander was once again up to the task in Springfield's 2-0 victory. Her record improved to 11-6 with a six-hit shutout and a 13-strikeout performance.
Ault (7-4) only allowed four hits, including two bunt singles and another infield hit. She had four strikeouts, with 13 ground ball putouts, of which she had six assists. Both Springfield runs were unearned.
The first Tiger run scored in the second inning when Marsh's batterymate, Renee Warren, got on with an infield hit and got to second on an error.
Aggressive on bases
After being sacrificed to third, she came home with aggressive base-running. In the fourth, it was Warren again scoring after a walk and a stolen base, with an errant throw allowing her to come home.
"I wanted to be aggressive at the plate and on the bases because that's what we needed to beat a good pitcher like Ault," Warren said.
The catcher has worked with Marsh since before their high school days and knows the talent she possesses.
"I know her like a book, and together we knew the Ridge hitters the same way," Warren said.
Marsh, who has an earned run average under 1.00, had at least one strikeout in every inning but the last, when she left three runners on base to end the game.
"Warming up, I knew it was a big game and that I had to get the job done," Marsh said. "Fortunately, I was able to work my off-speed pitches away from their hitters throughout the game."
Springfield (13-8, 8-3) fourth season coach Terry Dobson knew the win was important in the ICL race.
"We knew we had to mix up the pitches against a good-hitting Mineral Ridge team, and Maggie, who is one of the area's premier pitchers, did just that," Dobson said.
Mineral Ridge (11-5, 6-4) leadoff hitter and catcher Holly Mills went 4-for-4, with three singles and a double.
"It was a good game, but we didn't hit the ball and didn't play well defensively," Rams coach Gene Cheredar said.
Even though the Rams had two costly errors, they also had two great defensive plays, with center-fielder Renee Loomis making a sensational diving grab in the first inning and third baseman Katie Olive making a great play in the fourth inning.