Girard tops Ursuline 8-3 as freshman Broll settles in

Pitcher overcomes rocky start for first career win

Staff photo / Preston Byers Girard’s Brooklyn Broll gets set to throw a pitch during the Indians’ 8-3 win against Ursuline on Wednesday at Youngstown State.

YOUNGSTOWN — After a 10-0 shelling by South Range in her high school softball debut Monday, freshman pitcher Brooklyn Broll endured a few more tough innings in the circle against Ursuline on Wednesday. Broll finally settled in and found a groove, however, as the Indians came from behind and defeated the Irish 8-3, giving the freshman her first career victory.

Against South Range, Broll allowed nine earned runs and 10 runs total in 4.1 innings as the Raiders teed off on the young pitcher. Ursuline similarly got off to a good start against Broll, who allowed two earned runs in the first two innings as Girard fell behind 3-1.

But as Girard head coach Jim Keagy said after the game, you could hardly tell from her reaction.

“There’s one thing about Brooklyn: Brooklyn shows no emotion. She never gets too high on herself, and she never gets down on herself. She is even-keeled the whole time. And you would never know if we were up or if we were down. She has the same mentality every pitch and every batter she faces,” Keagy said.

In the top of the fifth, Broll received some help from the Indians’ offense. Molly Durkin got on base with a leadoff single and Destiny Flaherty walked to put the game-tying run on base. After a pitch in the dirt that got away from Ursuline catcher MacKenzie Smith and Durkin advanced to third, Malina Serrano drove in Durkin for Girard’s second run of the game with an RBI groundout.

With two outs in the inning and a runner in scoring position, Kylie Carpenter singled and drove in the tying run. Ursuline pitcher Bella Zamaria finally got out of the inning on a groundball forceout at second.

The Irish had their chances to retake the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning after a Katie Koulianos leadoff single, but only Kayla Sztary managed to get a hit as Broll forced two flyouts and popup to leave Koulianos and Sztary stranded on base.

Senior Lily Ditz replaced Zamaria in the circle to begin the sixth inning, but a few key mistakes allowed the Girard hitters to stay hot. The first came when Broll drilled a ball back toward Ditz, who could not make the throw to first in time.

With one out in the inning, Ursuline’s infield was slow to get a forceout at second base on a groundball, allowing Broll to slide into second safely as Kyra Bell reached first. The fun then really began for Girard.

Durkin drove in Broll on a single before Kristina Olesky dropped in a single over third base to get Bell home to take a 5-3 lead. After a long at-bat by Flaherty and a wild pitch that allowed both runners on base to advance, Serrano drove in both on a single to give Girard a 7-3 advantage.

After kickstarting a huge half-inning at the plate, Broll shut down Ursuline in the bottom of the sixth, retiring the side in order. Back at the plate in the seventh, Broll got on base and eventually scored on a Bell RBI single.

The freshman returned to the circle for the bottom of the seventh, during which the leadoff hitter reached base on a dropped third strike and she allowed a hit. Broll proved to be able to handle the pressure, though, as Sztary popped out to the catcher in foul territory for the final out of the game.

“For Brooklyn to go the distance, I’m really proud of her,” Keagy said. “I know she’s put a lot of work in, a lot of training and I’m really proud of her.”

In total, Ursuline finished with 10 hits, one more than Girard, but the Irish committed six errors and struck out four times, both more than double that of the Indians. Additionally, Ursuline left nine runners on base, three more than Girard.

“I think we got complacent. I think we had a couple good hits in the beginning, strung some together and then just got complacent and didn’t play our game. Didn’t play our 100%,” Ursuline coach Kristina Dugan said.

Keagy said he was impressed with his team’s response, particularly at the plate, after a poor opening start to the 2024 season against South Range, which reached the state semifinals last season and is typically one of the best teams in the area.

Both teams are now 1-1 on the season. Ursuline, which defeated Chaney 14-4 in its opener, is scheduled to host LaBrae on April 3. Girard will be back in action Saturday with a road game at West Branch.

Have an interesting story? Contact Preston Byers by email at pbyers@tribtoday.com. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @PresByers.


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