Lady 'Lopes face tough opponent

Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By JIM RUMBLE

After opening section play with a 20-5 beat-down at Freedom last Wednesday, the Avoworth softball team faced a tough challenge when they hosted top-ranked Ellwood City this past Monday.

The Lady 'Lopes dug themselves into a hole with nine errors defensively while being limited to one hit through the first five innings as they fell to last year’s WPIAL champion 12-6.

“Too many mistakes in the field,” said coach Jenna Muncie.“If you don’t clean that up against a quality team like this you won’t win.”

Pitcher Kim D’Ottavio couldn’t find the groove at the start, walking the first two Wolverine batters, and a throwing error lent a hand in Ellwood City’s early 2-0 lead.

Avonworth’s Dominique Raught laced a double into left center field in the bottom of the first, but the ‘Lopes' bats went silent until late in the game.

D’Ottavio was replaced on the mound by Sarah Helffrick in the top of the fifth inning with Avonworth trailing 5-0. Three dropped fly balls in the inning were instrumental in pushing the Ellwood City lead to 8-0.

The Wolverines added a run in the top of the sixth to lead 9-0 before the Antelopes finally found themselves on offense. A hit by Raught was followed by back-to-back doubles by Addalyn Helffrich and D’Ottavio that put the score at 9-2. Sarah Helffrich followed with a double to right field to bring a run in, and Gretchen Schmidt’s base hit to center field put runners at the corners for the Lady 'Lopes. Payton Aliskowitz doubled a run home and Natalie Marshall legged out an infield hit to deep short to drive in a run to put the score at 9-5.

Elaina Tkaczenko got credit for an RBI after reaching base on a throwing error, but Ellwood City managed to set the next three batters down in order to maintain the lead at 9-6.

The Wolverines added three more runs in the top of the seventh to put the final score at 12-6.