Hubbard falls to Field in district semis
Eagles will send all 4 of their seniors to play softball in college after 10-6 loss
HUBBARD — The Hubbard Eagles softball team has four seniors and even though their high school careers came to an end at home in a district semifinal against Field on Tuesday, all four will continue playing softball in college next year.
“I’m proud of our girls,” Hubbard coach Bill Amero said. “They fought hard. It was a great softball game.”
The Eagles led 2-0 after the first inning and 3-0 heading to the fifth, but the Falcons put two runs on the board in the fifth and sixth.
Hubbard answered with a pair of runs, in the bottom of the fifth, and took a 5-4 lead into the seventh.
Unfortunately for Hubbard the Falcons exploded for six runs and advanced to the district final with a 10-6 triumph.
Alexis Najdusak (Pitt-Bradford) had a bloop single and scored in the bottom of the first.
“It’s been a long run with my seniors,” Najdusak said. “We’ve come a long way. This hurts a lot, but we’ve been on one heck of a ride and I couldn’t ask for much more.”
Sophomore Phoebe Rusnak started for the Eagles, but Grace Narkum (Cleveland State) came in to pitch in the third.
The southpaw rolled up her sleeve, on her left shoulder, and went to work with a 1-2-3 fourth. She also blasted one off the wall with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, trying to keep Hubbard’s season alive.
“My dad always tells me to live in the moment,” Narkum said. “I knew that could be my last at-bat on the field. I wanted it to be something memorable. That was a big shot for me, and I was happy to end it that way.
“I’m thankful for our coaches, and I think all of the girls have a bright future.”
Haley Croyle certainly has a bright future as she’ll be playing at Akron next year. Her senior year was cut short by injury on May 2 at Lakeview.
“This is definitely not how it was supposed to end,” Croyle said. “We’ve learned a lot about ourselves, and each other, throughout this crazy journey. Growing up with each other really means a lot. We have so many memories. We’re not done yet. We’re all going to college.”
Baldwin-Wallace will have a nice addition when Gillian Ryser starts playing there next year. Ryser knocked in five runs in her final game for Hubbard.
“All four of us have been playing together since we were like six years old,” Ryser said. “It sucks that it’s coming to an end, but it’s not really over for us.”
It’s not over for Field (19-3) either after Sarah Rufener crushed a homer over the right field wall in the top of the seventh.
“This means a lot to the girls, and myself,” Field coach Beth Dyer said. “I’m really happy for our seniors.”
Hubbard (17-4) was a play or two away from a rematch with Marlington after dropping a heartbreaker 12-11 to them in the district final last season.
“We lost our number one pitcher a couple of weeks ago when Hayley got hurt,” Amero said. “We wanted to throw different looks at them because we knew Field was a good hitting team. They’re very good.
“We had a couple of plays that I wish we would’ve made. A couple balls that dropped would’ve made a big difference in the game.”