In the weeks of practice leading up to the season opener, Canfield softball head coach Ray Melewski's biggest concern for his team was finding solid starting pitching.
''We're still looking for that one girl to say 'give me the ball,''' Melewski said, ''but all of the pitchers we pitched did well. If that's the way it's going to be (all season) that's fine.''
Coach Melewski used three girls in the first game against the Lady Raiders on April 1. The triumvirate of juniors Megan Kusilek and Allison Fabry and freshman Bridgett Durkin pitched against Harding hitters in a 10-4 Canfield victory.
''We hit the heck out of the ball,'' Melewski said.
Juniors Kara Rothbauer and Rachel Tinkey both had three hits including one double each and combined for three RBI's. Junior Karina Kennedy hit a single and a double and sophomore Amelia Manenti mashed a triple in the win.
About the only thing that disappointed Melewski last Tuesday was the sluggish start his girls had. That was quickly erased once the Cardinals starting slamming the softball however.
''It could have been some first game jitters,'' Melewski admitted. ''It was nothing too bad though.''
Canfield's ladies certainly didn't feel any jitters a day later when they whitewashed the Warren kids 17-0. Kusilek came back in the season's second game and picked up where the pitching staff left off one day earlier. She carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning and finished with a one-hitter. Not only did Canfield keep it nearly perfect in the pitching circle, but it was completely perfect on defense.
''We came out (in the second game) and had no errors,'' Melewski said. ''That was the big difference in that game.''
There was no difference in how the Cardinal hitters attacked the Raider pitchers. The hits and runs came early and often for the Lady Cards. Tinkey hit her first homerun of the season, Rothbauer tripled and had two singles and Darby Cockrell also tripled. Caroline Griswold, Maura Kennedy and Kusilek each picked up a pair of hits to help pace Canfield.
''Everybody hit the ball really well,'' said Melewski. ''We were hitting on all cylinders.''
The bad thing for Melewski's maulers is they have a lot of open time before they get to terrorize opposing pitchers again. The Cardinals have a five-day rest before taking the diamond again against Girard on Thursday. This game against the Lady Indians will act as Canfield's home opener because the scheduled opener versus Harding had to be moved to Warren due to bad field conditions. On Friday, Canfield's club will hit the road and travel to Ashland to play in the Wendy's Classic. If Coach Melewski is still looking to form a strong opinion of his group of hurlers, he'll get that chance this weekend.
''We will be playing some of the best teams,'' he said. ''We will find out a lot more about our pitching.''