Mathews handles Lordstown
BAZETTA — Mathews Nicole Watts and Savanna Eggens combined for a complete game, one-hit shutout to beat Lordstown, 8-0 in a Division IV Warren semifinal Monday at Candlelite Knolls.
Watts started the game for the Mustangs and was focused from the first pitch.
“Fastballs, that’s all I threw tonight,” Watts said.
The senior went five innings, striking out six and giving up two walks to pick up the win before being taken out the game.
“We had a comfortable lead there and you want to save your number one when you know you’re going to play the next day,” Mathews coach Jim Nicula said. “We wanted to keep her in there until we felt that we had some comfort there with the run differential and then got her out to save some pitches.”
Eggens entered the game out of the flex position in the top of the sixth to toss two hitless innings.
“We’re young, and they overpowered us,” Lordstown coach Mitch Blake said. “We got a little antsy. We were getting on our front foot, and it’s powerless when you’re there. Any hitting coach will tell you that, but that’s youth wanting to chase the ball instead of letting it come in and hit it.”
Catcher Alivia Oulton helped her pitcher out in the first inning with an RBI double to give Mathews an early 1-0 lead.
“I try to make hard contact, but sometimes I find myself swinging a little to hard,” said Oulton about hitting with runners in scoring position. “So, I’ve been trying to focus in more and just trying to get base hits.”
She reached base in all four plate appearances, including an RBI single in the third.
Watts took matters in her own hands in the fifth for the Mustangs with a two-RBI single to give Mathews a 4-0 lead. She came around to score later in the inning, following a throwing error by Lordstown.
Pitcher Josie Toporcer gave the Blue Devils a solid outing, but picked up the loss. The Red Devils’ defense committed four errors.
Mathews’ Bailey Hall added a two-RBI triple in the bottom of the sixth before coming around to score herself for the game’s final run. The Mustangs had a chance to end the game due to the 10-run mercy rule, but failed to get two runs across with the bases loaded and only one out.
Mathews faces McDonald in today’s Division IV district championship game on at Candlelite Knolls, starting at 4:30 p.m.
“I told them (today) we will be lining up here either getting a district championship or a district runner-up,” said Nicula, whose team is looking for its seventh regional appearance in nine years. “One way or the other, the season will move on or not. So, we have to come ready to go regardless of who we’re playing.”