By Ty Bartell
For the second time in as many days, The Austintown Fitch Falcons and Howland Tigers squared-off on the softball diamond after a thrilling 1-0 game on Monday! With the weather a bit warmer and the sun peaking through some clouds, paired with seeing familiar pitching, meant more hitter-friendly conditions. Despite the game once again being played at Austintown, The Falcons were the road team as Monday’s contest was originally scheduled to be played at Howland. Meaning that Fitch would bat first and knew the importance of getting on the right foot offensively.
Ayla Ray and Caitline Mitchell set the table with back-to-back hits leading things off in the top of the first, before Sydnie Watts drove both in with a double that started an avalanche of Austintown offense! McKenna Hogan went the other way with a double and Kylie Folkwein smacked a triple out to center highlighting a nine run first inning for Fitch. That would not stop there, as the freshman Folkwein launched her first career home run with a solo shot to center in the top of the second! While in the circle, Sydnie Watts, backed by some stellar defense, was on cruise control. Speaking of stellar defense, despite a lopsided score, the glove a short from Alyssa Massucci was a bright spot for The Tigers! Making each and every routine play look just that as she locked up the six hole throughout the evening.
However, Fitch found other holes and gaps throughout the infield and outfield, adding more offense in the top of the fourth, capped off by an Ayla Ray two-run blast to right-center! Putting the finishing touches on an dazzling performance, Sydnie Watts tossed the five inning no-hitter to emphatically defeat Howland 15-0. The win puts Fitch (2-0) in firm control of The All-American Conference (AAC) standings, as they will stay home, welcoming in a Portage county opponent in The Aurora Greenmen (3-1) on Thursday, March 30th with a 5 p.m. first pitch. For Howland (0-2) they will look to right the ship, as they are slated to have a home matchup with another Portage county school also on Thursday when The Crestwood Red Devils (1-0). Interviews with Players of The Game Ayla Ray and Kylie Folkwein can be found below!