Next: Boardman at Mass. Perry, Thursday, 5 p.m.
By Greg Gulas
Ashley Hall struck out 10 batters and allowed just four hits as the No. 7-ranked North Canton Hoover stopped Boardman, 7-2, in Federal League softball game on Tuesday at the Fields of Dreams.
Hall, who struck out the first six Spartans batters of the game, said her curveball was her out pitch.
“When you play Boardman, you just know it is going to be a battle,” said Hall. “I relied on my curveball quite a bit today and it kept me out of any major trouble.”
The only two runs that Hall allowed were solo homers by Danielle Petrus in the fifth inning and Brooke Meenachan an inning later.
“I was ahead in the count both times and let it get away from me,” said Hall. “Both hit the ball solid; I just wish that I could take both pitches back.”
Erika Warren’s run-scoring double in the first inning got the Vikings’ offense going.
In the third inning, Warren’s RBI single and two-run single by Kelly Dillow highlighted a three-run uprising for a 4-0 margin.
Being mentally prepared has been a key for Warren this season.
“We come into each game with a positive attitude and try to get the early edge. We play hard, especially on the road because it’s a long bus ride home if you lose,” she said.
The Vikings (18-3, 8-0 FL) added three more runs in the fourth inning on a bases-loaded double by Jenna Lilley.
“I took a called third strike my first time up and walked my second time, but after that I just knew I wasn’t going to get a free pass,” said Lilley.
“When I doubled, I just got my favorite pitch, turned on it and was able to drive it up the alley,” she added.
Boardman was held to just two hits through the first four innings before Petrus’ solo homer in the fifth inning and Meenachan’s blast an inning later.
“Ashley did an excellent job on the mound and while she had command of her pitches, I am sure she wishes that she had those two home run pitches back,” said Hoover coach Jerry Goodpasture.
“We always tell our pitchers that you are going to give up home runs, so minimize the damage by keeping runners off the base paths. That was exactly the case today,” Goodpasture said.
Boardman coach Mike Trell is hoping his Spartans (11-7, 5-4) can hang their hats on their play over the final four innings.
“North Canton Hoover is a good team and 18-3 for a reason,” he said. “We played flat the first three-plus innings but once we got going, I felt like we outplayed them the remainder of the game.
“Danielle and Brooke are seniors and solid offensively. Both got under the ball and it carried out for them. “We played right to the end and that pleased me,” Trell said.