So far, they are living the softball dream.
Sitting two game back of Firelands Conference leading Crestview, Monroeville picked up a huge FC win over Plymouth on Tuesday evening 4-2 to keep their title hopes alive. The Lady Eagles close the FC season with a two-game series against the Lady Cougars next week. Before that, the Eagles have to take care of business with one more against Plymouth.
“Any win this time of the year is a big win,” Monroeville coach Abe Helmstetter said. “When ever you get this deep into the season, every game counts and every win counts. Everyone is getting better this time of the year and I hope we are getting better too.”
The Lady Eagles got on the board first on a two-out, two-run single by Ashlyn Tommas bringing home Brooke Kime and Carley Helmstetter who walked and singled to start the inning. The Lady Eagles led 2-0 after the top of the second. Plymouth responded in the home half of the inning with two runs of its own after Tristen Wiley was hit by a pitch to start the inning and was driven home by Morgan Chaffins’ RBI double. Chaffins later scored on a wild pitch to tie things up at two.
But sophomore pitcher Carley Helmstetter settled in over the final five innings allowing just two more hits and tossing a shutout the rest of the way. She ended with a three-hit, complete game win while striking out eight.
Monroeville tacked on another run in the third after Paige Schafer started the inning off with a double and later scored on a Courtney Kraft groundout. The Lady Eagles scored another in the fourth after Carley Helmstetter started the inning off with a single and was driven in two batter later on a two-out RBI double by Tommas. She finished with three hits and three RBI for the game.
“She was huge at the plate today,” coach Helmstetter said. “She was very relaxed at the dish and she executed her adjustments she has made throughout the year. Big props to her.”
Senior Janet Arnold took the loss in the circle for the Big Red with a solid pitching performance. She allowed four runs on just six hits while striking out one.
“It was a great game, we just did not finish,” Plymouth coach Tracy Arnold said. “We have struggled all year to finish games. We have a tendency to make a few mental errors that set us down and we find ourselves having to crawl out of a hole.”
The Big Red had just three hits on the day, one by Arnold, one by Chaffins and another by Alivia Spears. Chaffins added the only RBI for the game while scoring a run.
“Considering we took the No. 8 seed and they were seeded high enough for a first-round bye, I though we played them tough,” Arnold said. “During a tournament run, everything is fresh and every game is up for grabs. Unfortunately, our M.O. this year as been that we have yet to put all of the pieced together.
“We need to fix our communication and we are not as mentally tough as I would like us to be at this point in the season. We are second guessing ourselves at times. I don’t know if they believe in themselves as much as us coaches believe in them. If they see a couple of wins under their belts, we could be right back there.”
The Lady Eagles saw a three-hit performance from Tommas followed by a two-hit night for Carley Helmstetter. Paige Schafer added the other hit for the Lady Eagles who improve to 14-3 and 9-2 in the FC. With every conference game being a must-win if the Eagles want to capture the FC title, they are taking a simple approach to each contest.
“We just want to have fun,” Helmstetter said. “We are not going out to reinvent the wheel this time of the year. We are just trying to stay relaxed and have fun. It is a game and you are supposed to have fun playing softball. Hopefully the stuff we worked on throughout the year with all of the fundamentals, we can stay true to who we are and have fun winning ballgames.”
Plymouth falls to 10-8 on the year and 6-5 in the FC. The two teams will do battle again on Wednesday.