June 27, 2016

Partly cloudy

Softball: Bucks gives Pirates a good game

Matthew Doyle

YORK TWP. — There aren’t many softball games where both coaches have the same opinion on how their teams played, but Buckeye’s Howie Calame and Black River’s Lauren Toth agreed on a lot of things Monday.

Toth’s Pirates beat Calame’s Bucks 10-8 in nine innings in a wild Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division game that featured 31 hits and six errors.

Nastia Patrusheva

Both coaches agreed the hitting was off the charts, the fielding was subpar and Black River’s Dagmar Smith is one of the top pitchers in Medina County.

Though Smith (10-9) gave up eight runs, only three were earned as the Pirates (12-10, 8-6) made five errors. She did allow 13 hits to the Bucks (9-12, 6-7), a total that matched her 13 strikeouts.

And to think the game was 1-1 after five innings and sailing along.

Then the contest looked over after the top of the sixth, when Black River batted through the entire lineup and scored six times against Buckeye starter Maggie Calame to go up 7-1.

The Pirates had the middle of the lineup lead off the inning with four straight batters reaching base, including an RBI double by Danielle Sexton. Black River got four of its runs in the inning with two outs.

“I’m very proud of the way we hit today,” Toth said. “The bottom of our lineup has not been hitting like it can. Today they came out and they hit in situations when we needed to come through with a big hit.”

With a huge lead and Smith coming off a fifth inning where she struck out three of the four batters she faced, Black River appeared to be in control.

But Howie Calame’s crew fought its way back into the game.

The Bucks received solid contributions from their Nos. 3-6 hitters, who scored seven of the team’s eight runs. Chrissy Nichols was the biggest stick, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored.

Black River errors also helped.

“We had outs and we just didn’t make them,” said Toth, whose team made four errors over the sixth and seventh innings. “That killed the pitcher. (Smith) was just overthrowing.”

Smith, however, continued to fight through the errors. She got through the seventh inning with the score tied and made sure she didn’t let the Bucks take the game away in the next two innings.

The bottom of Black River’s lineup came through again in the top of the ninth, with No. 9 hitter Nastia Patrusheva collecting her fourth hit of the day. That hit scored Madison Combs from second and gave the Pirates the lead once again.

“Usually she’s a tactical bunter, and to come up with some big hits, it proves what she can do,” Toth said with a smile. “I think it’s a confidence-builder for her.”

Smith followed Patrusheva with a huge RBI single, giving herself an insurance run.

As it turned out, she didn’t need it, as she retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning, ending the game with her 13th strikeout.

“You’ve got to know that you’re going to hit the ball,” Smith said. “You have to have full confidence in yourself and your teammates. And we did that (in the ninth).”

Hannah Messenger added three singles for the Pirates, while Megan Scott and Combs had two apiece.

Nichols (6-7) took the loss in relief for the Bucks, despite pitching a strong two innings and striking out three. Offensively, Julia Sekerak, Kelsie Shultz and Maggie Calame all had two hits for Buckeye.

Other than committing mental and physical errors in the field, both coaches said the game was a good tune-up for postseason play, which starts this week.

“Scoring eight runs off Dagmar is going to help us,” Howie Calame said. “Team-wise, especially fielding, we have some work to do, but we had some positive signs today.”

Said Toth: “We head into the tournament next, so mentally and defensively, we have to come ready to play. I think hitting-wise we can move forward from here.”

Contact Matthew Doyle at sports@medina-gazette.com.

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