Knights On Top

Though he was serving as interim coach while Pancho Flores recovers from illness, John Marshall assistant softball coach Ed West has been around the game long enough to know you cannot afford to give teams like Wheeling Central extra chances.

Despite this knowledge, he watched as the Monarchs (9-8) committed six errors Monday night at Lisa’s Field, and the highly predictable result was a 6-2 victory for the Maroon Knights (12-1).

Couple that with the fact John Marshall was never able to come up with the big hit against Wheeling Central starter Brittany Derr, and it all adds up to a frustrated coach.

”They are going to earn enough runs without you giving them any,” West said. ”Too many mental mistakes. Base-running mistakes, fielding mistakes.

”I don’t know how many earned runs they had, but I know they didn’t have six.”

But you also have to tip your hat to the Maroon Knights, who were good enough on this day to capitalize on the mistakes.

And it started immediately.

Courtney Shrebe reached on an error leading off the first, and although she was eventually cut down at the plate, it set the tone. A hit batter, a walk and a fielder’s choice were followed by a ringing, bases-clearing double to center by Lindsey Beaver to make it 3-0.

John Marshall struck for a single run in the second when Haley Rush brought home Dee Gamble who had walked and advanced to second on a Laken Drake single.

”We like to get on top early (because) it puts pressure on the other team, and then they’re thinking ‘oh, man. we’ve got to make something happen,’ and then they start making mistakes,” Wheeling Central co-coach Rick Magruder said. ”If you get Val (Palmer) or Brittany (Derr) or a couple of those girls on — they can run.”

The Maroon Knights took a 4-1 lead in the third, thanks again to an error.

Bridgeport came back in the fourth and cut the lead in half after a sacrifice fly by Rex Ickler.

Linsly (8-6) stretched the lead out again in the bottom of the inning as Jordan Medley came home after a bases-loaded walk to Brunner.

The inning was a disaster for Bridgeport, as Medley started the inning by striking out, but the catcher couldn’t come up with the ball and Medley raced to first safely. Three consecutive walks chased Bridgeport starter Ryan Kreiter after 4 2/3 innings and eight strikeouts.

”I don’t think Linsly won the game; I think we gave it away,” Bridgeport coach Steve Wojcik said. ”They scored four runs on three hits. We couldn’t throw the ball over the plate, and when we did, we didn’t make the crucial defensive play.

”Give our kids credit, they battled back and made a game of it. We just didn’t get that key hit. We had the bases loaded twice and couldn’t score.

”But this is high school baseball and these kids are going to fail more than they succeed. We just have to keep plugging away at them. The one good thing about baseball is that there is always tomorrow.”

Bridgeport got its final run in the sixth as Ickler scored on a Linsly error.

”We are playing pretty well defensively,” Cartwright said. ”Any time you can win and not play your best, it’s a good sign. We are right in the middle of it and anything can happen.

”I don’t think we are ever going to be a dominant team offensively with the bats, but we have to make better contact, and I think we are just putting too much pressure on ourselves.”