ELYRIA — After a frustrating one-run, four-hit loss to Canfield on Wednesday night, Elyria’s Little League Majors All-Stars came alive Thursday.
The Elyrians torched three Conneaut pitchers for 14 runs and 13 hits to advance in the six-team state tournament for players 11 and 12 years old. And they got a no-hitter from Ashley Hyer and Ashley Olszewski. The righties each pitched two innings of the game shortened by mercy rule and combined for five strikeouts in the 14-0 win.
Elyria advances to a losers-bracket, must-win showdown with Bucyrus at 3 p.m. today at Vic Janowicz Memorial Park. Each team has lost once in the double-elimination tourney.
Shortstop Dierra Hammons, facing a full count, set the tone when she led off the game with a ringing triple to the fence in straightaway center field. Third baseman Elizabeth Ellis followed with a double to left, and Elyria had all the runs it needed when the swift Hammons ran home.
“Usually, if one person hits, everybody else starts hitting,” Hammons said.
Ellis scored when Hyer legged out a bunt single, and Olszewski, who singled, made it a three-run inning when catcher Leia Peffer singled her home. Leigha Donaghue, who led off the second with a double, and Kaylee Hummrich, who bunted for a single, scored when Hammons unloaded a double.
Hammons scored on Ellis’ second straight double, Ellis scored on Olszewski’s groundout RBI to the right side and Peffer scored on Megan Janowicz’s two-out single. Annaliese Prunty, who walked, scored on Ellis’ third straight hit, and Ellis scored on a wild pitch.
Peffer, Veronica Zack, Hammons and Ellis all scored in the top of the fourth, and when Olszewski induced the final out with a routine grounder in the bottom half, the game was over.
Hyer said she throws a fastball, drop, change-up and screwball. She faced eight batters. Olszewski, who said she throws the same assortment, plus a curve, faced seven. Combined, they threw 61 pitches, 37 by Hyer and 24 by Olszewski.
Peffer, the catcher, said Hyer’s drop was working well and Olszewski was having luck with the screwball.
“They both pitch about the same speed,” Peffer said.
Elyria manager Mike Ellis was delighted with the change 21½ hours made to his team.
“Our goal was to come out, score a few runs early and get ahead,” Ellis said. “That’s just exactly what we did. After yesterday’s game where we only scored one run, we wanted to come out and build our confidence. Dierra’s (Hammons) hit got things rolling.”
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