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Eagles ride Helmstetter past Norwalk

By JOE GILROY • Mar 30, 2018 at 11:56 PM

MONROEVILLE — Regardless of what the temperature reads, it is spring sports season in Ohio.

On another cold afternoon at Clark Park in Monroeville, the host Eagles needed just 67 pitches from ace Carley Helmsetter in an 11-0 non-league win in five innings over visiting Norwalk on Friday.

After losing 16-2 on Monday vs. Crestview, the Truckers dropped to 0-2. For Monroeville, it was a second straight 11-0 win to improve to 2-0. The Eagles also blasted Fremont St. Joseph by the same score on Wednesday.

Helmstetter struck out eight Norwalk batters and allowed just one hit in her complete-game shutout. She also had a good day with the bat in her hand where she drew a walk and drove in two runs with a hit that squeaked past the outstretched glove of a Norwalk fielder in Monroeville’s huge seven-run second inning.

“Carley puts a lot of work into her game and it shows,” Monroeville coach Abe Helmstetter said. “She also has a lot of good players backing her up in the field and that helps a pitcher when they can have confidence that their teammates are going to be there to make a play when she needs it.”

Norwalk once again struggled both at the plate and in field. The Truckers committed two errors in the second inning that breathed life into the Eagles’ offensive explosion.

Karissa Conrad ended her day with four innings of work and three of strikeouts. Six of the 11 runs were earned on 12 hits and four walks.

“We have got to find a way to put the bat on the softball and knock into play,” Norwalk coach Julie Schmidt said. “You can’t win if you keep putting goose eggs on the scoreboard. We can field and play defense as well as anyone, and if we finish with a zero in the scoring column, we will lose if we only allowed one run.”

Schmidt added there is a lot of improvement needs to be made defensively.

“But, I think some of that may go to the struggles on offense,” she said. “We worked in practice to eliminate the errors and they did show up again. I am not sure what it is, but we have to figure it out. A lot of our struggles is with the girls having self-confidence.

“I have plenty of confidence in them, but until they have as much confidence in themselves as I have in them, they are going to struggle,” Schmidt added. “They do it every day in practice, now they just have to do it in the games.”

Ashlyn Tommas was 2 for 3 with two RBIs and a run scored for the Eagles. Alex Carper was also 2 for 3 with three RBIs and three runs scored, while Brooke Kime doubled and also had two hits and two RBIs.

Jessica Hayes also had two hits for the Eagles, who are scheduled to begin Firelands Conference play on Monday against South Central. 

Paige Schafer, who went 1 for 3 and scored a run, said the Eagles haven’t taken the time to size themselves up. She said they have been preparing for the task at hand and not letting themselves get caught looking ahead.

“We are just taking it game by game and we will see how it goes. but we don’t worry about the other teams as much as focusing on getting ourselves better,” Schafer said. “We just have such a great group of players that help me whenever I need it. We all try to help pick on another up whenever it is needed.

“We are excited for the South Central game,” she added. “That is a big game for us and it will be a good test to see where we are as a team in our conference.”

Sydney Hughes had the lone Norwalk hit, a team forced to make lineup changes early. Norwalk hosts Margaretta on Tuesday.

“We are in a bind with some off the field things going on and we are trying to put the players in the right positions to be most successful,” Schmidt said. “There is definitely a learning curve, but I firmly believe that once we get settled in, you will see a completely different team. We are going to win some games once we get everything figured out.”

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