By Ty Bartell

Following back-to-back victories against All American Conference (AAC) opponent The Howland Tigers, The Austintown Fitch Falcons softball team was scheduled  for their first non-conference opponent. Their competition? The two-time regining and defending Suburban-American Conference champions, The Aurora Greenmen. Another premier pitching matchup was slated, as Greenmen had The Suburban-American Pitcher of The Year a season ago in McKennah Metzger. Of course, Fitch has The AAC Pitcher of The Year and YSN Player of The Year in Sydnie Watts in the circle. 

The first inning saw Austintown strike first when Ayla Ray opened the game with a single and later came home to score off of a Sydnie Watts RBI single. Great pitching ensued for the following innings, with Metzger retiring The Falcons on weak contact, while Watts struckout ten of the first eleven batters!  Fitch padded their lead in the third when the top of The Falcon order got ducks on the pond for the middle. McKenna Hogan brought home a run on a sacrifice fly, following that,  Kylie Folkwein brought home two additonal runs on a single which allowed Fitch to take a 4-0 lead. 

The score remained the same until the sixth, as both Metzger and Watts got into a groove! Aurora got some traffic on the basepaths in the top half of the sixth, which would be The Greenmen’s best opportunity to score at that point. Watts faned the two following batters to keep one of Portage County’s best teams scoreless through six innings. In the bottom half of the inning, The Ace of Bases, Ayla Ray hit a triple to the gap and scored off a throwing error to third, capturing an additional insurance run for The Falcons! Watts sent The Greenmen down in order in the top of the seventh and finished with 16 strikeouts in route to a 3-0 start for Fitch! 

Aurora (3-2) will be in-action next on Monday, April 3rd in a home matchup against conference-rival Tallmadge (2-1) as those two squads shared the conference a season ago. While Austintown-Fitch (3-0) will stay home and be right back on the field Friday, March 31st where they will host The Mentor Cardinals (0-0) for a 5:00 p.m. first pitch! Interviews with Players of The Game Sydnie Watts and Ayla Ray can be found below! 


Batting (Fitch)

Ayla Ray: 3/3, 3 R (6), BB, 3B (1). 

Caitlin Mitchell: 2/4, R (1). 

Sydnie Watts: 1/3, RBI (5)

McKenna Hogan: 1/3, RBI (2).

Kylie Folkwein: 1/2, BB, 2 RBI (4).


Pitching (Fitch)

Sydnie Watts: W (3), 7 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 16 K (41), CG (3), SO (3).