Mooney’s 7th inning surge delivers win


Mooney’s 7th inning surge delivers win

By Dan Hiner

dhiner@vindy.com

Austintown

Carly Francis stepped in the batter’s box facing a 1-2 count with two outs in a 3-3 ballgame in the seventh inning.

Her RBI double on the next pitched to put the Cardinal Mooney softball team ahead 4-3.

Francis’ RBI double was the first of five Cardinals’ runs in the final inning as Mooney beat Austintown Fitch 8-3 on Monday at 9-11 Memorial Field.

Conchetta Rinaldi followed with another RBI double. Rinaldi later scored on a throwing error by Fitch cather Lainie Simons

Alaina Scavina hit a two-run home run later in the inning, her second of the game.

Scavina put the Cardinals (18-4) up 1-0 in the top of the second with a leadoff solo home run.

“I was calm,” Scavina said. “If I didn’t get a huge hit it was gonna be fine, but [Carly Francis and Rinaldi’s doubles] really helped me.”

Mooney freshman Alaina Francis struck out eight in a complete-game win. She allowed three runs on seven hits.

“Our freshman Alaina Francis, the way she was throwing the ball, I thought two might get it done,” Cardinal Mooney head coach Mark Rinehart said.

Francis allowed three straight singles to Ryleigh Morgan, Elyssa Molody and Lydia Spalding in the bottom of the fifth. Kayla Kelty hit a three-run double to the left field fence to tie the game at 3.

Spalding allowed eight runs — five earned — in a complete game for the Falcons (13-9). Spalding allowed five hits and four walks, striking out two.

“We left too many runners on for this good of a team,” Austintown Fitch head coach Steven Ward said. “We just gave them too many opportunities and we took opportunities away from us — we broke mechanics down.

“Hey, this is a great opportunity for us to learn and get into the tournament.”

The Falcons had some momentum entering Monday’s game. Austintown Fitch won three of its last five games and claimed the All-American Conference Red Tier title.

It was Fitch softball’s first conference title in 19 seasons.

“Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to light a fire and get us focused for the rest of the year,” Ward said.

The Falcons started the year 2-1. Ward started the season with some “inexperienced and young” players.

He knew the players would learn from their difficult schedule by the time the postseason arrived.

“It’s been a really successful season. I mean the AAC has some very solid teams,” Ward said. “And the [it’s] the same message here today: Lets learn and lets get better for the next game.”

The Falcons are the No. 3 seed in the Division I Solon district. They will play Kent Roosevelt or Maple Heights following a first-round bye on Wednesday.

Fitch advanced to the district semifinals last season before losing to Canfield.

“This year I just feel like our hitting is stronger overall,” Spalding said. “We gelled really nice last year, and this year you can see better glimpses of everything compounding as we go.”

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