Weathering the storm

Hubbard overcomes slow start, tops Mathews

Tribune Chronicle / Brian Yauger Hubbard's Grace Narkum delivers a pitch during the Eagles 11-5 victory over Mathews on Friday in Vienna.

VIENNA — Battling the weather conditions as well as the opposition, Hubbard softball came out victorious beating Mathews 11-5.

“I knew it was going to be a back-and-forth game, and I was very proud of our girls,” Eagles coach Joe Zagorec said. “We’ve got a very young team. Last couple games we’ve definitely come out with the attack mentality when we’re up to bat. I’m very happy to see that.”

Mathews had the lead for most of the game but were sunk by the Eagles getting hot bats in the later innings, scoring two runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, and three runs in the seventh. With players out with injuries, it’s easy to make excuses, but Mathews coach Jim Nicula isn’t going there.

“Well it’s never an excuse at all, but we have a couple kids that are injured,” Nicula said. “We have kids playing in positions that they normally don’t play. Anytime that happens with kids that are in high school, it’s a little bit of a struggle because they’re uncomfortable. It’s a game of having confidence, and if you’re not totally confident in what you’re doing at times, you’re going to have problems or you’re going to struggle a little bit. And I think that was just part of that, but I think it’s got a little bit of a case of the nerves and it just got away a little bit.”

The game was accompanied by a soft drizzle that continued until about the fifth inning. Zagorec said the rain kept them from performing as well as they could, but that changed when the rain stopped.

Tribune Chronicle / Brian Yauger Mathews’ Bella Spano, right, makes a catch at first base as a Hubbard player runs through the bag.

“The weather kind of hindered us in the beginning with pitching, ball movement and stuff,” Zagorec said. “Once it did stop raining, I think it really helped us out a little bit.”

The weather also could have made for an excuse from the Mustangs, but Nicula viewed the rain as more of an equalizer than anything.

“Whether you’re playing today or you’re playing in a tournament game at Firestone Stadium you got to play regardless what the situation is,” Nicula said. “Weather’s bad for the other teams same as it is for us. Sure, it makes it a struggle to play in if the balls are wet and stuff like that, but it’s an equalizer. So, you know, that’s not an excuse.”

Grace Narkum threw a complete game for the Eagles, striking out six batters and only giving up four hits. Hubbard’s Hannah Kist got four hits in her five plate appearances. Emily Filicky had three hits and scored two runs.

Sophomore Sydney Bowser had the game’s final dagger, hitting a home run in the seventh inning to give the Eagles their 11th run of the night.

The Mustangs have a quick turnaround as they look to rebound today against Newton Falls. Up next for Hubbard is a home-and-home with Struthers on Monday and Tuesday. Monday’s game is at Hubbard.