AVON — Midview took a big step toward claiming superiority in the West Shore Conference on Monday.
Freshman Lauren Landers held the potent Avon offense to six hits, Erin DiFranco went 4-for-4 and Amanda Beursken belted a three-run home run as the Middies cruised to a 7-0 win and sole possession of first place.
“We’ve preached all season one pitch at a time and that’s exactly how the girls played today,” Midview coach Mike Ives said. “It was a complete team effort. You can see the girls really believe in themselves and each other right now.”
Midview (8-2, 5-0) scored first in the second inning. Left fielder Trish Koleski led off with a single and Carlee Grunda and Alex Ellis followed with one-out singles to load the bases.
Koleski then scored on an Audra Clapper groundout.
The Middies didn’t know it at the time, but that would be all the offense they would need.
Avon (8-2, 5-1) struggled to get anything going against Landers, who struck out at least two batters in each of the first four innings and didn’t allow a runner to reach third base until Eagles center fielder Kaylee Morton led off the sixth inning with a triple.
“My riseball was working again,” Landers said. “It always comes through for me.”
The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for Avon.
“Lauren did an excellent job of pitching for them,” Avon coach Ken Matuszak said. “We made a few costly errors and didn’t get the big hit. That was good team we lost to today. They pitched well, hit well and were well-coached. We just have to put this behind us and concentrate on our next game.”
Landers said she didn’t feel any extra pressure in the biggest game of her young high school career.
“We’ve been looking forward to this game for a while and I know my team has my back so I wasn’t nervous,” Landers said. “My coach knows exactly how to make me pitch well, so it was very comforting to know he was there on the bench calling the pitches for me.”
In the sixth inning, Beursken provided a little more confort with a three-run home run that also scored Cassie Haight and Morgan Hamker to make the score 6-0.
However, it was the speedy DiFranco, a junior right fielder, who was the catalyst for the Midview offense. DiFranco reached base in all five plate appearances, scoring a run and stealing a pair of bases. Three of her four hits were of the infield variety.
“This win is so big for us,” DiFranco said. “We were so ready for this game. We’ve been preparing for this game and I knew my job was to get on base and get into position for my teammates to come up and drive me home.”
Although the Middies suffered their first two losses of the season over the weekend against Central Crossing and Massillon Perry at the Akron Racers Spring Showcase, Ives said he felt those games helped prepare his team to take on the Eagles.
“The only way to get ready for big games is to face good competition,” Ives said. “We talked and learned from some of the things we did over the weekend and today we got those timely hits we needed. We made the plays we needed to make on defense and Lauren’s riseball was working well.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135or firstname.lastname@example.org.