The Blue Devils pushed across two runs to win the ICL game, 2-1.
By RYAN JONES
BERLIN CENTER -- The overcast sky could not dampen Western Reserve's spirit, as the Blue Devils defeated Inter-County League rival South Range, 2-1, in a high school softball game Wednesday.
In a game dominated by pitching, Western Reserve (3-1, 3-0 ICL) manufactured two runs in the bottom of the third inning.
South Range (3-1, 1-1) took the lead in the top of the second inning. Andraea Hazel reached on an error. Jessica Spickler followed with a single to center. Hazel then attempted to steal third base and eventually scored when the catcher's throw went awry.
"I wasn't nervous after giving up the run because I knew I had a good team to lean on that would put up some runs for me," Blue Devils pitcher Mikah Berger said.
Western Reserve rally
That would be South Range's only run, as the Blue Devils' offense came to life in the bottom of the third inning.
"I was concerned that we were leaving runners on base in the earlier innings," said Western Reserve coach Joe Serensky. "It seemed as if we weren't able to come up with that big hit when we needed it."
Kristen Kurth led off with a single to center. Berger followed with another single to center, advancing Kurth to third. Katie Harmon then doubled up the middle, scoring Kurth from third to tie the score. Tiffany Shugart singled to center to score Harmon for the second run.
Serensky felt better after the third inning.
"We were finally able to string a couple of hits together that produced some key runs," he said.
Raiders pitcher Skye Walley settled in after that, scattering eight hits in six innings.
"Luckily for us, [Berger] remained solid as well and got some big outs when she needed to," Serensky said.
South Range had runners on base in each inning the rest of the way. But Berger never folded, striking out batters to end threats in both the fourth and sixth innings. She also induced a flyout to end the Raiders' threat in the seventh.
Berger (2-1) allowed five hits and struck out seven.
"She is our No. 1 pitcher and the girls really look up to her to lead the team," Serensky said. "I told her that she needed to be strong out there and she did exactly that in closing out the game."