Fitch sophomore softball pitcher Alex Franken has been a huge contributor to her team's 11-7 record at the start of May.
Franken has been the winning pitcher in nearly all of Fitch's wins shined brightly in the circle in both of the Lady Falcons' triumphs last week. The Falcons beat Warren Harding 10-0 May 2 with Franken starting and finishing the shutout. Fitch won at Massillon 7-5 May 3 behind Franken to win two of three games on their rain-shortened slate. She also made the state record books by belting a homerun in three consecutive at bats and totaled seven RBIs.
''We have been so pleased with Alex Franken,'' said head coach Melody Ward.
Ward also has been pleased with Franken when she faced opposing hitters. The combination of Franken and Sierra Pierce is a dynamic duo for the Falcon girls. They joined forces to allow just three hits to Harding.
''I believe our pitching is gradually getting stronger,'' said Ward. ''We have our starter Alex Franken and are pleased with the progress of our freshman Sierra Pierce on the mound. For us to be successful as the tournament approaches we must continue to gain strength and momentum on the mound.''
Having strength at the plate is a good thing and Fitch had plenty of that last week scoring 22 runs in three games. In the win over Harding, the Falcons scored in every inning besides the first. Gabby Butcher and Cali Mikovich led the Fitch offense with a homerun, single and two RBIs each. Franken had a double, a single and an RBI as did Jessica Welsh. Mercedes Pratt, Chelsea Raymer and Billie Jo Cox knocked home the other Fitch runs.
The Falcons fell in game one of a doubleheader at Massillon 6-5 in eight innings, but offense was not to blame for that setback. Mikovich spearheaded a thirteen hit Fitch attack with a homer, three singles and two ribbies. Alex Corradi had a double, a single and an RBI. Franken also batted home a run. A three-run homerun by the Lady Tigers tied the game in the bottom of the seventh before the home team pushed across the winning run in the eighth to turn back the local girls.
Aside from Franken's hitting heroics, Nicholette Zordich and Mikovich were the other big hitters in the nightcap win over Massillon with two hits apiece. All of the offensive fireworks are sort of shocking to Ward because she feels her girls have not seen enough live pitching to stay hot.
''It's difficult to get a rhythm going because of all of the bad weather,'' Ward said. ''I'm very impressed with this team's fight and will to win.''
Despite Franken's seven RBI output in game two in Massillon, Fitch almost threw the game away due to four errors. The defense has been a little shakier than Ward expected this season so the coach believes tightening up the fielding is imperative if the Falcons want to do well in the playoffs.
''We need to see more consistency from our defense,'' she said. ''We need to clean up the errors and pay attention to the little details of the game.''