Softball teams strut their stuff at Spring Showcase
By Mike D’Agruma
SOUTH AKRON — Firestone Stadium opened its doors to some of the area’s top high school softball teams for the Spring Showcase April 19-21.
South Side News Leader coverage area teams who participated during the weekend were Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (CVCA) and Archbishop Hoban, Coventry, Our Lady of the Elms and St. Vincent-St. Mary (STVM) high schools.
Several teams played strong throughout the course of the weekend, particularly Coventry, who was the only coverage area team to finish the Showcase undefeated after scoring a trio of wins against Garfield, Oberlin and Woodridge high schools. Star pitcher Kelsey Lynett handled business both on the mound and with her bat in leading the Lady Comets to their 3-0 weekend. Kara Merritt and Maddie Klemp also showed prowess at the plate, with Klemp knocking in three of Coventry’s eight runs against Oberlin. The run support proved useful for Amanda Phillips, pitching against Oberlin during the tail-end of an April 21 back-to-back.
The Hoban Lady Knights suffered their first loss of the season against Hudson High School but otherwise showed what has become almost routine dominance in wins over STVM and Norton High School. Sophomore Taylor Rice helped lead the Hoban attack in games against Hudson and STVM, knocking in a total of three runs on a pair of extra base hits. Freshman pitcher Lauren McNeil played phenomenal softball in a 5-0 win against the Lady Irish, striking out 13 while only yielding three hits and two walks. CVCA went 1-2 during the Showcase, dropping games against Tallmadge and Copley high schools. While star pitcher Katie Keslar pitched a masterful two-hitter in an 11-1 win over the Elms, she had a tough time against her other opponents, giving up a total of 16 runs in the two losses. She was effective, however, with her bat while teaming with her sister, Julie, and Jessica Bartlett to provide most of CVCA’s offense.
STVM bats struggled against an onslaught of power pitching as the Lady Irish dropped all three of their Showcase games to Hoban, Norton and Hudson — three schools that boast three of the area’s top pitching talents in McNeil, Jessica Krska and Mandy Krutzler. STVM was outscored 13-3 over the weekend, being shutout twice.
The Elms also ran into big problems,
dropping three games by large margins. The Lady Panthers
only managed to score 2 runs on eight total hits against
Copley, Tallmadge and CVCA.
Coventry High School’s Amanda Farkas bunts for a single to open the Lady Comets’ 8-5 victory over Oberlin High School at the Spring Showcase April 21. Photos: Mike D’Agruma
Coventry High School’s Amanda Phillips fires a pitch during a Spring Showcase win over Oberlin High School April 21.