June 27, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Softball: Rusty? No way, Medina impresses after nine-day layoff

WADSWORTH — With her team playing for the first time in nine days, Medina softball coach Jessica Toocheck was curious to see how it would react Saturday at the fourth annual Strike Out Cancer.

The Bees came up aces with an 8-2 win over Manchester and 6-0 victory over the Grizzlies.

It was a sigh of relief for Medina (15-2) and a buildup for the future as the team extended its winning streak to five games.

“The girls worked hard in the week to try to stay focused,” Toocheck said. “We knew we were playing for a cause bigger than softball today. The girls wanted to come out and have a good day for a good cause. It was nice to get a game in before the week ahead.”

That includes huge Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division games with Elyria, Mentor, Strongsville and Brunswick, so just seeing what the Bees had was vital.

That showed in the win over Wadsworth (8-6), when Sami Holzman was fantastic in the circle and the offense pounded 11 hits.

Holzman (3-1) took a perfect game into the fourth inning before allowing an infield single to Bailey Conrad with two outs. Holzman finished her six-inning performance by giving up four hits and striking out two.

“We practice hard in the gym and prepare like we’re going to have a game even though we know we’re going to get rained out, but we’re up for it every day,” Holzman said. “With this week coming up, we knew we had to get our mindset in.”

Medina did itself a favor by scoring with one in the first and four in the fourth as Jessie Holzman (2 doubles, 2 runs), Sami Holzman (single, triple, RBI, run), Lexi Mahaffa (triple, RBI, run) and Allison Stack (2 singles, RBI, run) all had big days.

“The hitting helped the pitchers settle down,” Jessie Holzman said. “It really wasn’t a close game, so we didn’t tense up. Coming into this week, these wins will help a lot. Just to see live pitching will go a long way.”

The Grizzlies, who are in second place in the Suburban League, have a huge week coming up as well as they travel to first-place Tallmadge today a game behind the Blue Devils. After that, Wadsworth finishes a suspended game with third-place Highland on Tuesday before playing the second of a two-game series against the Hornets.

Despite two consecutive losses, Wadsworth isn’t worried about the week ahead.

“We just need to start hitting earlier,” Grizzlies catcher Sam Ryan said. “If you start doing that, the other team realizes, ‘Oh, they’re here to hit.’ When we’re not hitting, it gives them a confidence boost. I’m not concerned. We have what it takes to beat them.”