Although the Fitch softball team has played well in the limited amount of games it has been able to play this year, the team has still struggled in its own conference.
Fitch wanted to put on a good showing in its final season in the Federal League, but so far have only one league win to brag about. The Lady Falcons fell to 1-4 in the loop last week after losing at North Canton Hoover 2-0 and at Uniontown Lake, 7-2. Those two setbacks continued a terrible trend the Falcons have set in a lot of their league letdowns.
“We beat ourselves in games we have lost,” complained Fitch head coach Melody Ward over the weekend. “We need to maintain our composure in tough situations. One play sets off a chain reaction of events and we have to control that chain reaction instead of reacting to it.”
The only chain in Fitch’s game at Hoover was a chain of zeroes on the scoreboard put up by the offense. The Falcons could only muster three measly singles by Megan Carney, Carly Ortz and Cali Mikovich off of brilliant Hoover starting pitcher Caly Russo. Amanda Callahan did all she could to keep the Falcons fighting, but she was simply outdueled by the wonderful Russo. Callahan actually gave up less hits (2) than her opposite number, but a two-run bottom of the third by the Lady Vikings was all Russo would need. That loss by Callahan on April 26, however, did nothing to soil the spectacular things she has done in the pitching circle all season.
“Callahan has been pitching phenomenally for us,” Ward announced. “She is averaging eight strikeouts per game and even hitting .375. She is really excelling in her senior year.”
One good thing about that heartbreaking loss to Hoover was that Fitch is becoming more accustomed to battling good teams in tight contests. That experience should pay dividends when Fitch enters the state playoffs later this month.
“We are getting used to playing close games and the players are starting to understand how each play is important,” said Ward.
It was another close game at Lake on April 28 until the stretch run of the game. Fitch was trailing 3-2 when the Lady Blue Streaks shot four runs across the plate in the home half of the sixth. Callahan was pitching a good game until that point when the Blue Streaks blew up. Five Fitch errors did not help the cause either. Alana Callahan collected two hits and two RBIs for the Fitch offense. Carney continued her torrid season at the plate with a double. The junior is now batting .542 and is showing no signs of the torn ACL she sustained as a sophomore.
“Carney is a comeback player of the year story for sure,” said Ward in amazement.
Speaking of comebacks, that is exactly what Ward’s girls will need to do this week when they play more challenging games inside the Federal League. A home game with Canton McKinley and a road trip to Massillon Perry are the two scheduled tilts, but makeup games from earlier this season are always a possibility.