WESTFIELD TWP. — Cloverleaf’s softball team finally found the square peg that fit the square hole.
Labeled the just-missed kids for losing close games this season, the Colts put together an impressive performance Thursday in a 6-3 Suburban League win over Wadsworth.
That it came against the Grizzlies (2-2, 0-2) made it all the more special for the squad.
“If this wasn’t the turning point for our team, I don’t know what was,” Cloverleaf first baseman Cyanne Horner said. “We’ve been so close in everything.
“This is such a big boost for our team. I don’t think Alli (Beery) knew what was in for her. We went out and were relaxed and put Wadsworth in their place, I think.”
Horner was just one of a number of stars as the Colts (2-6, 1-2) hit Beery (1-2) early and often.
But it wasn’t just about the ping of the bat, as Cloverleaf also used the leather, throwing two runners out on the base paths while making solid plays in the field.
Adrea Baughman highlighted the defense with a diving catch in center field to end the second inning, crushing one of many Wadsworth threats.
“After the last couple days, you could tell it’s been coming together,” Colts coach John Carmigiano said. “I’ve been preaching to the pitchers that if they can keep us in the game, eventually the rest will catch up.
“The kids really pulled together today. They came to the ballpark with a different swagger and were ready to take that next step.”
That next step started with a run in the second inning, but erupted with five in the fifth.
The latter inning started with a single by Holly Phillips and was highlighted by Horner’s three-run double. By the time it was over, the Colts were leading 6-0 after sending nine to the plate.
“That had to be a huge boost for them,” Grizzlies coach Mike Schmeltzer said. “You could hear the excitement (when they were batting) and see the excitement when they took the field. The longer it went, the more confidence they got.
“You go down 6-0, I don’t care who you are, it is tough to come back. They did a good job against our ace.”
Wadsworth made it a game again with three runs in the top of the sixth, earmarked by a home run from Alyssa Horton (3-for-3, run, RBI).
But Sam Pankuch relieved Kristen Kilzer (1-5) in the seventh to end any chance of a comeback.
The Colts’ win also put some strain on the Grizzlies’ chances of a league crown. While it is early, Wadsworth was expected to challenge the likes of Tallmadge, Highland and Copley for top honors in the conference. Now, the squad has to virtually win out and hope for some help.
“Every game is absolutely a must from here on out,” Schmeltzer said. “I know 11-3 has won it in the past.”
Contact Brad Bournival at email@example.com.