TAC SOFTBALL Champion wins on Beachy's hit
She singled in the winning run in the eighth inning of the 1-0 win over Newton Falls.
CHAMPION -- Hillary Beachy's single scored Jaclyn Carpenter with the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning, as Champion High defeated Newton Falls, 1-0, in a Trumbull Athletic Conference softball game Friday at the Champion Sports Athletic Complex.
The Golden Flashes improved to 18-1 overall and 9-0 in the TAC, giving them a two-game lead over the Tigers (15-3, 6-2) with five conference games remaining.
Eleventh straight win
It was also the 11th straight win overall for Champion, which defeated Newton Falls 4-3 on April 9.
"One thing is for sure when these two teams get together and that is you can almost count on it being a one-run game," Champion coach Cheryl Weaver said. "It seems as though every time we play Newton Falls a mistake plays into the outcome of the game."
Carpenter led off the bottom of the eighth with a walk then went to second on Kasey Karr's infield single. Both runners moved up a base on a throwing error.
Game winning hit
Catcher Alyshia Brink then walked to load the bases, setting the stage for Beachy's game-winning single, her only hit of the game.
"This is [Hillary] Beachy's first varsity season and she has really played well for us," said Weaver.
Karr had three of Champion's seven hits and is batting .510 this season. She was also the winning pitcher, allowing two hits and striking out 10.
Karr is 10-0 on the mound this season. In 60 innings, she has yielded just five runs -- one earned.
"It was a real pitchers' duel," said Newton Falls coach Tammy Sinn.
"The only two players that we have in the same positions from a season ago are pitcher [Lindsey McCartney] and catcher [Emily Montgomery]. The rest have been moved to positions where we needed help. At 15-3 overall and 6-2 in league play, we're definitely the surprise team of the league. We had more talent last year but lacked leadership. This year, our four seniors have shouldered the burden of leadership and it is reflective in our overall record."
Montgomery scattered seven hits, did not walk a batter until the eighth and struck out seven.
"Today's pitchers have seen each other countless times over the years as they have played against each other both in high school and throughout the summer months," Sinn stated. "The way each pitched you could just sense that a mistake by either side was going to decide the game."
Top-seeded in tourney
The Golden Flashes, the No. 1 seed in the Rowel district, will play the winner of the Grand Valley-Middlefield Cardinal game in a sectional final May 10. Champion was 22-6 last season, losing to eventual champion Woodsfield Monroe Central in the state semifinals.
"We're not looking beyond the next game, but tournament play is obviously an exciting time for us," Weaver said. "We like our draw, but we'll just take it one game at a time.
"Karr has been a workhorse for us all season and we'll count on her quite a bit in the postseason if we expect to advance like we did last year."
The Golden Flashes stranded six runners while Jessica Connell was the only Newton Falls runner to get beyond first base, advancing to second in the first inning and to third base in the fourth inning.
Each team committed one error.