After a shaky start which saw the undefeated Lady Falcons softball team find themselves in a 3-0 hole after a half inning of play, the offense got plenty of practice bunting the ball in the bottom of the first to go up 10-3 and never looked back while easily defeating Ashtabula Lakeside 22-5 on Wednesday afternoon. Freshman pitcher Jeweliana Farmer got the start for Fitch and walked the first two batters she faced which led to an RBI double off the fence in left field. A wild pitch sent a second run home before she struck out two in a row, but another wild pitch brought in another score. Farmer was able to get out of the inning with a strikeout which left one runner stranded. The Lady Falcons then made it look easy after leadoff hitter Ayla Ray got on base with a walk. Caitlin Mitchell then bunted her way to a base hit followed by fellow senior McKenna Hogan getting credit for an RBI on a throwing error to first. Samantha Severn had an RBI bunt after Kylie Folkwein struck out which set up Tina Montgomery who blasted a ground rule double over the fence in right center. Then came more of the bunt fest as Abby Toth and Ashlee McLean both got to first safely with the small ball strategy to load the bases for Ayla Ray’s second at-bat. Ray was walked which scored Montgomery and Hogan then launched an RBI double of her own. Folkwein was thrown out at first on a sacrifice bunt before Severn popped out to end a first inning in which Fitch scored ten runs to go up 10-3.
The defense helped Farmer get out of the top of the second unscathed and then the Lady Falcons scoring barrage continued. Abby Toth was walked to open the frame but was knocked home by Tina Montgomery’s RBI triple. Madi Beaudis brought Montgomery in with a bunt and then proceeded to steal second which led to an RBI single by Ashlee McLean. Ayla Ray was hit by a pitch to get on base and each runner eventually moved to second and third respectively on a ball. Mitchell then brought home both of her teammates with a two RBI single and got all the way to third on pass balls to Hogan whose walk then scored Mitchell. Pinch runner Rachel Spalding got to second and third on pass balls herself and then came home thanks to an RBI triple by Kylie Folkwein. Samantha Severn was thrown out at first but got Folkwein home in the process. Then Abby Toth struck out before Montgomery came to the plate looking for more. Launching a deep bomb to center, the sophomore came home to make it 19-3, Fitch after two.
The defense held the Lady Dragons once again in the top of the third and the Lady Falcons tacked on two more runs sparked by a triple by McLean to lead off the inning. Another bunt by Ayla Ray led to a double steal on which McLean would score before Mitchell was hit by a pitch and Hogan was walked. A walk by Folkwein scored Ray before Fitch called off the dogs, allowing two runners to leave early resulting in both players being called out. After three, the Lady Falcons led 21-3.
Another strong showing by the Lady Falcons defense behind their freshman pitcher allowed them to make substitutions and the subs got in on the offense as well. Senior Laura Lanterman, who has seen little action due to a months long recovery from an ACL injury, was walked and then moved to second on a Morgan Roby single. A wild pitch advanced both runners before Madison Haynie scored Lanterman on a two out fielders’ choice to put Fitch up 22-3. Lakeside would go on to put up two runs in the top of the fifth, but it wasn’t nearly enough as they couldn’t cut into the huge lead to avoid the 10-run mercy rule.
Jeweliana Farmer got the first win of her career while McKenna Hogan was the winning catcher. The Lady Falcons will face Madison in the next round of the tournament on Monday, May 15 at the Youngstown State University softball complex. The first pitch is scheduled for 4:00pm.
*Contributed By Chris Lewis at austintownathletics.org