Elyria Pioneers break on through to win sectional final

ELYRIA — It took only one hit to get Elyria going.

After being held hitless the first three innings, Elyria finally broke through in the fourth inning. They ended up scoring twice in the inning, while Caitlyn Minney shut down Olmsted Falls en route to a 4-0 Division I North Ridgeville District Sectional Final win Wednesday. The Pioneers will play Westlake next Tuesday in the district semifinals at North Ridgeville at 3 p.m.

“Thank goodness (MacKenzie) Phares started us with that hit,” Elyria Coach Ken Fenik said. “That is how tournament games are … a break here, a break there determines who is going to win it or not.

“Our girls have been in these games all year. That is why we schedule the people we do to get in those close games so hopefully we find a way to win.”

Olmsted Falls (12-12) pitcher Kate Edgehouse kept Elyria (20-5) off the base paths in the first three innings. Of the first nine outs she recorded, four of them were pop-outs. However, it was a different story the second time through the Pioneers’ line-up. After working on small ball in practice, the Pioneers put it to use in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Phares led off with a bloop single just behind second base. Marie Masters laid down a nice sacrifice bunt. Edgehouse fielded the bunt cleanly, but her throw was just wide, going past the first basemen. The miscue put runners on second and third with no outs.

Patty Davis grounded out to second, but it allowed Phares to score. Alexis Roseboro laid down a bunt to score Masters who beat the throw home.

“It (the run) gave us a lot of confidence,” Phares said. “To go out there ( the plate), knowing we could score more runs.”

Playing small ball helped Elyria get on the board, but it was their speed on the bases which allowed them to get a few more insurance runs.

In the bottom of the fifth with two outs, Haley Looney singled. Sybil Roseboro came in as a courtesy runner. Roseboro stole second and scored on Phares RBI single to center. Phares played a pivotal role for the Pioneers, reaching base all three times on a walk and two singles.

The same formula was used in the bottom of the sixth inning with Alexis Roseboro singling to start the inning. She stole second and scored on Carly Bachna’s single to left.

Though Elyria has been aggressive on the bases in the past, this maybe the fastest team Fenik has ever had.

“The people we had on bases; they were flying,” he said. “That is the one thing about us this year; we have people who can run. I am very confident on a base hit to the outfield we can get them home.”

While the first three innings could have been unnerving before the Pioneers broke through, Minney showed how dominating she can be in the circle.

The right-hander scattered three hits and didn’t allow a runner to reach second base until the sixth inning — a double by Jordan Jaeckin. She struck out 12 which included four in a row at one point. She also struck out the side in the third and in the seventh inning to seal the win. She improved to 15-3 on the season.

“Everything was working for me,” Minney said. “Once we get some runs; we definitely calm down and play our game.

“I don’t think we were nervous (at the beginning). We were just really excited to play and for tournaments to start.”

After being shut down the first three innings, Elyria’s offense did start to perk up. They finished with six hits. Besides Phares, Bachna also had a pair of singles.

Elyria will host Medina Friday as they look to capture Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division championship.

Elyria 4, Olmsted Falls 0

Division I North Ridgeville District

Sectional Final

Olmsted Falls (12-12) 000 000 0 – 0 3 1

Elyria (20-5) 000 211 x – 4 6 0

TWO HITS OR MORE – Elyria: MacKenzie Phares, Carly Bachna; 2B – OF: Jordan Jaeckin; WP – Caitlyn Minney (15-3); LP – Kate Edgehouse (9-4).

@MJournalSports

Last Updated: 5/15/2013 10:12:30 PM EST

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