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Devils come back to beat Panthers

March 29, 2012
By KIM NORTH - Special to the Herald-Star , The (Martins Ferry) Times Leader

RAYLAND - For the second time in three days, St. Clairsville has posted a victory over Buckeye Local in girls' softball action. But the pair of wins came in entirely different ways.

Wednesday afternoon on a wind-swept and dusty diamond, the Red Devils - who led from the start in a 9-3 triumph Monday on their home diamond - trailed 5-3 entering the top of the sixth before exploding for a half-dozen runs. They would tack on what appeared to be an insurance marker in the seventh frame for a seemingly comfy10-5 lead.

That insurance tally turned out to be the game-winner when the Panthers (2-3) scored four times in their last at-bat and left the tying run on second in a 10-9 setback.

"The best thing about today's win was that we didn't give up and we were able to come back and fight through it," said St. Clairsville (2-1) head coach Rachel Duncan. "But we still had way too many errors. We can't make those errors and expect to win.

"But, we also waited too long to hit. We always struggle with slower pitchers and their first pitcher was slower.

"Once we finally adjusted, we were all right."

Krista Morrison doubled to start the Red Devils' six-run rally. Kaci Rykowski followed with a single to right as Morrison went to third. After Rykowski stole second, Summer Gallentine drew a one-out walk to load the bases. Mikayla Miller reached on an error as Morrison scored, and OSU recruit Jesse Machovina smacked a two-run single to left-center. When the relay throw got away, Machovina smartly moved up a base. Brianna Hummel's infield single plated another run and was followed by Clark's two-run triple to left.

"We had one bad inning again today, and it hurt us," allowed Buckeye Local head coach Joe Soos. "But I'm very proud of the girls' effort, especially in the bottom of the seventh. We almost got it done. We almost got it done.

"The conditions were very tough and both teams made some good plays. They've got a nice hitting team, and we're not bad either."

Buckeye Local, which saw a 1-0 lead develop into a 2-1 late-inning loss at Shadyside Tuesday, had its hitting shoes on early as Taryn Tonkovich, Dana Bettineschi, Karlee Leonard and Kierstyn Czuchran banged out back-to-back-to-back-to-back singles, with Czuchran's plating two runs.

After St. Clairsville tied it in the top of the third on an error and Clark's sacrifice fly, Buckeye Local regained the lead with a 3-spot in the bottom of the inning for a 5-2 edge.

Bettineschi tripled in Tonkovich, who had reached on an error, and then strolled home when Leonard lifted a long fly ball over the leftfield fence.

However, the would be the last damage the hosts would do until it was too late as St. Clairsville sophomore Lauren Figura got into a groove. The righthander retired three straight batters after serving up Leonard's home run, but found herself in a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the fourth.

She induced an infield popup for the first out before getting a ground ball to third baseman Hummel, which resulted in a force out at the plate. A soft liner to short ended the threat and she set down the next six before an error led to the 4-run outburst in the seventh.

Buckeye Local's last threat started when Tonkovich reached on an error, but was erased on a fielder's choice at second.

After the second out was recorded and the fans started packing up their gear, Czuchran stroked an RBI double to left-center and Tori Nest reached on an error. Jessi Faulkner ran for Nest and both her and Czuchran raced home on Lauren Swiger's double deep down the left field line, making it 10-8.

Kaylee Decesare's single to left knocked in Swiger, but that would be as close as the Panthers would get as a foul out ended the game.

St. Clairsville 10, Buckeye Local 9

St. Clairsville 002 106 1 - 10 10 3

Buckeye Local 203 000 4 - 9 11 7

ST. CLAIRSVILLE (2-1): Figura (WP, 4K, 1BB) and Rykowski; Machovina 2S, 2rbi; Hummel

2S, rbi; Clark T, sac. fly, 3rbi; Morrison D; Gillespie 2S, 2rbi.

BUCKEYE LOCAL (2-3): Primovic (LP, 5K, 1BB), Starcher (6, 1K, 1BB) and Nest; Bettineschi S, T, rbi; Leonard S, HR, 2rbi; Czuchran S, D, 3rbi; Swiger D, 2rbi; Decesare S, D, rbi

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