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Fast start paces St. Paul past Western

By JOE GILROY • Apr 27, 2018 at 11:08 PM

NORWALK — Sometimes one mistake for a young rebuilding program can snowball into one mistake after another.

When those ingredients with an opposing team that has a hot bat, you end up with a disaster.

That was the case Friday afternoon when the St. Paul softball team took advantage of several Western Reserve mishaps in a 14-1 home rout in five innings.

St. Paul (4-9, 2-6 FC) scored early and often en route to the big win over the Roughriders (0-15, 0-8) in Firelands Conference play.

“We were good today and had no errors,” St. Paul coach Bob Wilhelm said. “It was a welcome sight after we had five errors (Thursday) against Huron.

“It’s hard to figure it out, but when we are hitting and getting runners on base, we play better in the field and do not have the errors that we have had in some of the other games,” he added.

Kennedy Stang jumpstarted the Flyers’ offense when she led off with a standing triple and scored off Olivia Englert’s single in the next at bat.

After stealing second base Englert scored two batters later when Marlaina Sowers hit a double into the gap between short and third base. Sowers scored the final St. Paul run in the first inning thanks to a Kaity Tomshack single.

The rout was on and it did not get any better for Western Reserve as the game moved along.

The Flyers topped their first inning output by adding four more runs to the scoreboard in the second. St. Paul then matched their first and second innings by scoring seven in the third.

Morgan Baxter pitched three scoreless innings finishing with three hits, two strikeouts and three walks for the win. Baxter helped her own cause at the plate as she doubled, tripled, drove in three runners, and crossed home plate twice. Sowers came on in relief of Baxter and pitched two innings, allowing four hits and a run.

“I talked to the girls and said, ‘I know it is prom weekend, but let’s keep our focus tonight and play a good game’ — and that is what they did,’” Wilhelm said. “I think we have turned the corner, which is good, because we aren’t too far away from the tournament season.

“I am happy with how they are coming along, and hopefully we can pick up at least another five or six wins before the season ends,” he added.

Sidney Omler led the Roughriders with three hits, including the lone RBI when she drove in Hannah Gross, who had added a pair of hits. Izabelle Good allowed 14 runs (10 earned), 15 hits, and struck out one. Western Reserve allowed three runs on pass balls and another on a throwing error.

“It is tough, but we are getting better,” Western coach Larissa Sherman said. “We have a very young team and we are in a rebuild here. We are improving and played pretty good in the last game, we just have to put good games together. The girls are working hard to get better and we are going to get there.”

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