With the hitting performances, they might have just beat cancer to death.
The Monroeville Eagles collected 12 hits while Western Reserve added three in the Eagles’ 15-3 run-rule win on Tuesday in Monroeville. The Riders struck first with a run in the first after Jacy Riley got things going with a double and later scored on an error as Western took an early 1-0 lead.
But the Eagles showed patience at the plate drawing five walks in the home-half of the inning to reclaim the lead 3-1 after one. After both teams went scoreless in the second, Western found more offense. Emalee Cooke started off with a single and stole second while Riley drew a walk. Caylee Baker laid down a perfect bunt scoring Cooke from second. Morgan Boswell drilled a shot to short that was misplayed ad Riley came around to score making it a 3-3 tie ballgame.
In the bottom of the third, the flood gates opened. The Eagles went off for nine runs in the inning to break things wide open. Brooke Kime and Carley Helmstetter started off with back-to-back doubles followed by back-to-back singles by Morganne Stanley and Taylor Reer. Jessica Hayes drilled an RBI single followed by Paige Schafer reaching on a fielder’s choice. Skiler Hershiser stepped to the dish and unleashed a 3-RBI double to deep left and before the blink of an eye, the Eagles were up 8-3.
After a Courtney Kraft walk, Kime was hit by a pitch in her second at-bat of the inning. Helmstetter then added a bases loaded walk followed by a 2-RBI single by Stanley, her third run batted in of the inning. When the dust finally settled, the Eagles owned a 12-3 lead heading to the fourth.
“I didn’t feel like we hit the ball like we know we can in yesterday’s game,” Monroeville coach Abe Helmstetter said. “So we talked about it and made some adjustments and this time our offense showed up and we needed it with these back-to-back games. I am not a huge fan of them because it is hard to get better in one day. But give props to these girls, it was truly a team effort.”
After a scoreless half an inning, the Eagle went back to it in the fourth. Hayes started off with a single followed by a double from Paige Schafer. Hershiser stepped to the plate with two more on and a change to give the Eagles a chance at a run-rule win. She ripped a 2-RBI single scoing Hayes and Schafer for her fifth RBI of the game.
“That kid has been through a lot this week and I couldn’t ask for a better kid,” Helmstetter said. “She just responded so well and came out and put on one of the best offensive performances of the season. I am so proud of her and very happy to have her on my team.”
Carley Helmstetter held the Riders scoreless in the fifth to end the ballgame. She finished with five innings pitched giving up three runs, three hits and struck out four. Cooke, Riley and Baker collected the only hits for the Riders with Baker adding the only RBI. Riley scored twice while Cooke added a run and a stolen base.
“They have some great players over there,” Coach Helmstetter said. “Emmalee Cooke and Jacy Riley can really hammer the ball. I thought we just did a great job.”
Western Reserve coach Bob Cooke admits the Riders are going through a rough patch after starting the season 0-5, but vows to get things turned around.
“This Rider team for the past four years have had a fire in its belly for this game,” Cooke said. “We started this thing four years ago and we were not just losing, we were getting demolished. We didn’t have anything. They always had a phenomenal ability to play every game with a smile on their faces and enjoy the game.
“This year, for whatever reason, we have had a hard time finding that spark they always played with. The first three innings, they had it. They were hitting the ball, running aggressively, making plays and playing defense. We were playing Rider ball and then they started scoring. That spark dwindled a little bit. The fire is there and I know it has never left this team. We will find it and we will get it done.”
The Eagles collected 12 hits led by Hershiser’s 3-hit, 5-RBI night. Hayes, Schafer and Stanley added two hits a piece. Kime, Helmstetter and Reer each added one. Helmstetter and Stanley added two RBI with Kime and Hayes driving in one. The Eagles improve to 3-1 but most importantly 2-0 in the Firelands Conference.
“We always say we are a work in progress and today was progress,” Helmstetter added. “I am happy and we will enjoy this win. Tomorrow we will move on and start over. It is huge to start 2-0 in the Firelands Conference. This league has very quality softball. Just a huge confidence boost for us.”