Amanda Callahan pitched seven shutout innings on April 20 versus Massillon Jackson to give the Fitch softball team its second win of the year inside the Federal League.
Callahan upped her record to 5-4 by scattering eight hits and striking out seven. For a team like Fitch, which hasn’t performed very well against its conference cousins in recent years, that outing was just as grand as a no hitter.
“Another big win for us,” said Fitch head coach Melody Ward via email. “Amanda Callahan had an excellent performance against a really good hitting team.”
Ward’s hitters were not hitting very well against Jackson, but the hits they got in the fifth inning were all that Callahan needed. Brianna Banko led off the fifth with a single. Kacie Donahue singled her to second then two pass balls allowed Banko to score the game’s only run. That lone run may not have stood up if it wasn’t for some sparkling play by the Fitch defense.
“The defense made play after play,” Ward explained. “We owned our field tonight.”
One play in particular that highlighted the day was an over-the-shoulder catch by centerfielder Emily Purnell at the fence to halt a Jackson rally in the fourth inning.
The Falcons played good defense again in their only other win of the week a 5-3 triumph at home over Lisbon April 24. Fitch committed zero errors and after giving up two runs to Lisbon in the second inning was able to keep the visitors off the scoreboard until the top of the seventh.
Alyssa Jones and Donahue both had RBI singles for the victors who put up two runs in the bottom of the first and two more three innings later to take control. Stephanie Berdis blasted a triple for Fitch. Martinelli mashed a double and Carly Ortz obtained the only other Fitch hit.
Although the Falcons got those two big wins, they only scored six runs combined and totaled just eight hits. In the Falcons three other games last week, all losses, the girls managed only three runs on 14 hits. If Fitch is to improve on its 7-6 overall record it is going to have to start hitting more.
“We certainly have lost a few games we shouldn’t have due to a lack of timely hitting,” said Fitch assistant coach Steve Ward. “That is probably the greatest challenge we have to overcome as a team. Many times, usually three or four times a game, we have runners in scoring position and not able to hit them through. If we want to be successful we must find ways to get those runs in.”
Statistically speaking, it has not been a terrible offensive year for the Falcons. The unit is hitting over .300 and actually has already surpassed last season’s extra base hit total. The only problem has been most of those hits have come with runners out of scoring position.
Take Fitch’s game at Canton McKinley last week for instance. Sure, the Falcons scored three runs and picked up eight hits in the 5-3 loss, but two of those runs came in the top of the first inning. Fitch could not score any other runs until the top of the ninth in the extra inning affair.
Jones had a double, single and an RBI in the defeat. Donahue and Martinelli each picked up a pair of hits. Alana Callahan collected an RBI single.
Fitch’s other two setbacks were shutouts, 10-0 to Fitch and 3-0 to Ursuline. Jones got the only hit in the loss to the Irish while Ortz led the team with two safeties in the catastrophe against Canfield. Of course, those two Falcons have been in the middle of most offensive uprisings all season for their squad.
“Jones and Ortz are leading the team in all offensive categories,” Steve Ward declared. “They are a great 1-2 punch.”
With half of the season still to go and plenty of opportunities for the Lady Falcons to keep climbing up the Federal League standings, they will need all of the punch they can get.