Park Breaks out Big Bats to Beat Ferry

WHEELING – Coming into the 2014 softball season there was no question Wheeling Park was a team that could hit the ball and hit it with power.

However, the Patriots, like most teams, have had trouble getting onto the field and before Wednesday things hadn’t been going as smoothly as Coach Dee Davis had hoped.

That all changed Wednesday afternoon as Park broke out the big bats in a thorough beat down of Martins Ferry.

The Sidon sisters, Ashleigh and Kaleigh, both belted homers and the Patriots collected 15 hits, including five during a five-run sixth inning outburst that helped provide a 10-2 victory against the stunned Purple Riders on Lisa’s Field at the Chamber’s I-470 Sports Complex.

With a victory, which came a day after a hard-to-swallow 5-4 loss at arch-rival John Marshall, Davis’ crew improves to 2-2 heading into a showdown with their other West Virginia Class AAA Northern Panhandle rival Brooke this afternoon in Wellsburg.

“We don’t have a lot of speed so we have to be able to hit the ball,” Davis said with smile. “I believe all we need is to play games and get into a rhythm and that is starting to happen after John Marshall on Tuesday and this game.

“Now we go to Brooke (today) and have doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday, so I think we will be all right.”

Both teams had scoring opportunities in the first inning with the Purple Riders (2-2) missing the biggest chance.

Shaye DeLeonardis reached on an infield single to second with no cover at first base before Tyrah King ripped a two-out base hit to left. Morgan Stalder then laid down a bunt and reached when no one made it to first base to cover.

However, with two down and the bases loaded winning pitcher Skylar Carrington recorded her second strikeout of the inning.

Park got a two-out Ashleigh Sidon single and a stolen base, but was unable to bring her around.

The Patriots did cash in an inning later, scoring its first run on Kaleigh Sidon’s lead-off home run to deep center. An out later Criswell doubled to deep left and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Sarah Long’s single to center made it a 2-0 advantage after two.

Wheeling Park doubled its lead in the fourth on a single, an error on a possible double-play ball and consecutive run-scoring singles from Morgan Karnell and Kelsi Johnson.

Ferry did get a pair back in the top of the fifth on three consecutive bloop singles, including freshman Mercedez McLeod’s run-scoring hit, and an RBI single by King. However, the Riders may have taken themselves out of a bigger inning when they had a runner picked off the base paths.

Ashleigh Sidon matched her sister in the fifth, sending a ball deep over the fence in left-center field to get a run back and increase the lead back to 5-2.

The Patriots then ended things in the sixth with the big hit being a three-run single to right-center off the bat of freshman Kat Donzella. Senior Carly Greer also had a run-scoring single in the inning.

“I think the big thing was the fact the girls were not down after losing to John Marshall because they knew as well as I did that we just needed to play games,” Davis added.

“Ferry did get a few bloop hits in the fifth to score a couple, but we didn’t do anything to beat ourselves.”

Ferry Coach Paige Williams was obviously dejected afterward and nearly at a loss for words.

“This one is hard to figure out,” she said. “We have executed so many times, but for some reason we just didn’t, not at the plate and not in the field.

“We just didn’t play as a team at all and I really am not quite sure what happened.”

Carrington earned a victory, fanning six and walking one.