SHADYSIDE - Steubenville Catholic vs. Shadyside always seems to be one of the premier matchups on the Ohio Valley prep softball calendar.
Wednesday afternoon's tilt at the Shadyside Junior Sports Complex offered more proof why.
Ashlynne Daley bunted in a run, Alex McCombs tossed a four-hitter and the defense took care of the rest as the Crusaders blanked the Tigers, 2-0.
The victory solidified SCC's position in the OVAC Class 3A Tournament field. Saturday is the cutoff to make the four-team playoff and Coach Jim DiCarlo's squad (10-3) entered the week in third place.
''These were two good, evenly-matched teams,'' DiCarlo said. ''Fortunately, for us, we came out on top.''
Meanwhile, Shadyside fell to 6-7 making it's road a bit tougher to jump into the crowded Class 2A field.
''We're actually proud of them,'' Shadyside coach Jillian Ongley said after speaking with her team in the outfield. ''We have a couple of games left this week we have to win and, if we play like we did (Wednesday), we shouldn't have any problem doing so.''
To no one's surprise, Wednesday's starting pitchers were stout, meaning hits and runs were at a premium. It was the type of game both coaches expected.
''She's a really good pitcher,'' DiCarlo said of the Tigers' Megan Heagney, who allowed three hits and struck out seven.
''We knew we'd have a hard time scoring a few. We knew we'd have to try and make things happen and I'm glad we were able to capitalize on a couple of opportunities.''
The first scoring chance for the Crusaders came in the third. With one out, leadoff batter Micca Mirabella slapped an infield single. Immediately after reaching first the senior stole second.
Moments later, with Fran Capaldi at the plate, Mirabella raced toward third. Shadyside catcher Lindsey Dunn rifled a throw to third, but the ball made its way into the outfield and Mirabella raced home with the game's first run.
''She's set a school record in stolen bases and she's a wonderful base runner,'' DiCarlo said. ''We try to take advantage of her speed whenever we can. It's hard to do against them because (Heagney) throws hard and she has a good arm.
''Sometimes you have to gamble and be aggressive in a game like this.''
The Tigers looked primed to even things up in the bottom of the third.
Bethanie Ramsey ledoff the inning by doubling to left. Next, Sam Rosser laid down a bunt. She reached first just ahead of the throw, but Steubenville Catholic first baseman Maddy Metcalf alertly darted a throw to third baseman Bert Bertoia and tagged Ramsey out.
Shadyside got another hit in the inning, but was unable to plate the tying run.
''One little thing here or there can always make a difference,'' Ongley said.
From there, McCombs was stifling, limiting the Tigers to one hit. She finished with three Ks and one walk. Karly Klug finished with two hits for the Tigers.
Her teammates provided her with an insurance run in the sixth when Daley bunted home pinch runner Emily Sepik from third.
''That was a suicide and (Ash) did a wonderful job of getting it down fair right where we wanted it,'' DiCarlo said. ''We knew one more run right there would be a positive.
''We needed to make a few things happen and that proved to be the difference.''
Bishop Donahue 3
ELM GROVE - Linda Hall retired nine on strikes and added two hits as Cameron beat Bishop Donahue.
Bailey Loyd homered, doubled and drove in a run for the Dragons (9-8), while Lindsey Paczewski doubled among two hits and drove in three runs.
Sommer South had an RBI triple for the Bishops (5-11) and Jen Little doubled.
John Marshall 11,
GLEN DALE - Hannah Rogerson homered among two hits and knocked two in as John Marshall topped Edison in four innings.
Alyssa Blake doubled among two hits and drove in two runs for the Monarchs (17-5) and Bobbie Hall had two hits and an RBI.
Cassidy Jarvis doubled for the Wildcats.
Wheeling park 11,
East Liverpool 0
EAST LIVERPOOL - Skylar Carrington fanned 13 batters and tossed a two-hitter as Wheeling Park blanked East Liverpool.
Ashleigh Sidon homered for the Patriots (12-4) and Kelsi Johnson doubled among four hits.
Carrington, Morgan Karnell and Carly Greer each doubled among two hits.
Monroe Central 1
WOODSFIELD - Rosey Romick had three hits and drove in three runs as River beat Monroe Central in five innings.
Gabby Goudy earned a victory as she retired seven on strikes for the Pilots (18-2) and Emily Hester doubled among two hits and drove in a run.
Brady Bristman doubled among two hits for the Seminoles (6-10) and Brittany Hooper doubled.
Paden City 9,
Tyler Consolidated 5
KIDWELL - Graceson Baker doubled three times among four hits and drove in a run as Paden City beat Tyler Consolidated.
Taylor Cosper picked up a victory and added a double among two hits and drove in a run for the Wildcats (8-12) and Amber Neff had two hits and an RBI.
Alex Bubenchik went 4 for 4 for the Silver Knights with a double and an RBI.
Bellaire 11, Barnesville 5
BARNESVILLE - Daphne Clark had a two-run homer to lead off the game as Belliare topped Barnesville.
Mackenzie Conroy tripled among two hits and drove two in for the Big Reds (11-3) and Mary Garloch had three hits and batted in three runs.
Shaylyn Giesey had an RBI double for the Shamrocks (4-6) and Hannah Hannahs and Emily Sleeth each had an RBI single.
Martins Ferry 3,
St. Clairsville 1
MARTINS FERRY - Tyrah King hit a two-run homer as Martins Ferry topped St. Clairsville.
Shaye DeLeonardis picked up a victory for the Purple Riders.
Mackenzie Otto doubled for the Red Riders.
Oak Glen 9, Toronto 2
NEW MANCHESTER - Ashley Pryor tripled among two hits and batted in three runs as Oak Glen topped Toronto.
Hannah Clunk had an RBI single for the Golden Bears.
Chelsea Anderson doubled for the Red Knights.
Brooke 4, University 2
WELLSBURG - Cassi Camilletti doubled twice and drove in a run as Brooke topped University.
Isabella Preston had a two RBI single for the Bruins and Abby Capenter doubled.