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Newton Falls goes on to win after quick start

Correspondent photo / Lowell Spencer Chloe Butler of Newton Falls connects with a pitch in the Tigers’ win over Crestview on Thursday.

NEW WATERFORD — The eighth-seeded Newton Falls Tigers softball team has the gift of a short memory. Coming off a loss the night before to league rival LaBrae, and a loss to Crestview just last week, the Tigers responded on Thursday with a dominating 7-1 sectional tournament win over the fifth-seeded Rebels.

“The tournament was the most important thing right now I thought,” Tigers coach Kristina Baker said. “Last night we gave it our all. We did what we needed to do, and I said let it go and come back tonight ready to play.”

“We knew what we had to do today,” Emily Knight added. “We knew what we had to do from the start and it started in the first inning and carried throughout the whole game.”

The Tigers came out on fire in the top of the first with four consecutive hits. The big blow being a three-run home run off the bat of Knight. Her towering shot over the left-field fence staked the Tigers to a 4-0 lead.

“I thought it was huge. It got us off to a nice start and gave us a bit of confidence to go through the game. The pitch was right down the middle and I knew I had runners on base so I knew I had to drive them in somehow. It hit the perfect spot on the bat so I knew it was gone,” Knight said about her blast out of the park.

Correspondent photo / Lowell Spencer Sophia Tvaroch of Newton Falls fires a pitch in the Tigers' tournament win over Crestview.

“We wanted to come out and get the momentum right from the very beginning and be aggressive defensively,” Baker said. “I thought we came out and jumped on them tonight. I was really happy with that. We not only had aggressive at-bats, but we had quality at-bats.”

The quick Newton Falls start was not what the Rebels wanted.

“That first inning, they did exactly what we didn’t want them to do,” Rebels coach Greg Eskra said. “To score four, and we had a chance to get out of the inning and we didn’t. They came out and punched us right in the face. A lot of the wind went out of our sails. I thought we would be able to battle back from 4-0, but it kind of progressed from there.”

The first inning was all that Tigers starting pitcher Sophia Tvaroch needed as she picked up the win, surrendering just five hits to the Rebels. She struck out 13 Rebel batters while only walking one.

“She did a good job tonight,” Baker said. “She stayed composed, she was in control and her defense backed her up. She did what she needed to do on the mound to take care of business.”

Crestview’s Eskra was in agreement.

“She did a great job. She kept us off-balance and she hit her spots,” Eskra said about the Tiger pitcher.

The Tigers added to their advantage in the second inning when Chloe Butler, Lexie Drake, and Zoe McElrath collected consecutive singles. Butler scored on McElrath’s knock to left-center. McElrath led the Tigers with three hits in the game while also having two RBIs.

After the Rebels has scratched out a run in the third on a double by McKenna Schultz and an RBI single by Kaedyn Sutton, the Tigers quickly regained momentum in the top of the fourth. They tacked on two more runs courtesy of three straight singles by McElrath, Knight and Joey Hood.

The Tigers will advance to face the ninth-seeded Rootstown Rovers next Tuesday in a district semifinal at South Range. The Rebels resume regular season play with they travel to LaBrae today in MVAC Grey Division action.

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