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Canfield stays undefeated to earn top spot in tourney

May 8, 2014
By Nik Zirounis - Town Crier Correspondent , The Town Crier

Although inclement weather haunted area softball schedules a week ago, Canfield's ladies were able to notch one enormous victory.

On April 29, the Lady Cardinals came from behind to edge Howland 4-3 and in the process stay unbeaten in the All American Conference. With six straight victories inside the league, Canfield controls its own destiny in achieving its preseason goal of winning a conference championship.

The win over the Lady Tigers seemed implausible after one inning. Howland attacked Canfield starting pitcher Allison Fabry for three runs in their opening at bat. Fabry would then settle down and Canfield's bats would perk up. The Cardinals scored a run in the second inning and two in the fourth to tie the contest. Those two tallies were thanks to Fabry who slugged a homerun. In the bottom of the sixth, Rachael Tinkey knocked in the game-winning run for Canfield. An overcast sky clouded the field last Tuesday while four errors by the Cardinals clouded the victory.

''It wasn't pretty,'' said head coach Ray Melewski. ''We were down early, but we battled our way back. Slowly but surely we went ahead.''

Fabry worked five innings and was relieved by Kayla Troxil who tossed two shutout frames.

''Troxil shut them down the last two innings,'' Melewski said.

''We don't have pitchers who can strike out 11 or 12 batters a game,'' said Melewski. ''Our defense has to make plays. We keep digging holes, but we don't quit. Our strong point is that we feel we're never out of it.''

Marina Sturgeon, Darby Cockrell, Karina Kennedy and Bridget Durkin have been hitting the ball well allowing power hitters such as Fabry and Tinkey to collect RBIs.

''The bottom of our order has been getting on base and the big hitters are knocking them in,'' Melewski said. ''It's important we keep doing that.''

The Cards take on Howland once and Poland twice this week with the conference crown in the balance. Three games at an invitational in Springfield over the weekend will allow Canfield to get some much needed action versus good teams away from the AAC. Those weekend contests will be against Newton Falls, LaBrae and Conneaut. A showdown with the number one team in the state, Barberton, is scheduled for May 15. That game with the top rated Lady Magics will show Coach Melewski how ready his squad is for the playoffs.

Canfield is the number one seed in the tournament and will play host to the winner of the game between Southeast and Struthers.



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