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Lady Cards shine at Ashland Invite

April 26, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Last weekend the Canfield softball team boarded the bus and headed south to play in the 25th annual Wendy's Spring Classic in Ashland.

This tournament isn't just open to anyone in Ohio. Only the teams with exceptional strength of returning pitching qualify for consideration to participate. An invitation is also a reward for a successful previous season and for having high expectations for the current season. Canfield's girls certainly check off each of those boxes and they proved their worthiness when they won two of the three games they played.

After losing its first match in its pool to the undefeated Hurricane Redskins 12-2 on Friday, Canfield climbed right back into the tournament Saturday morning with an 11-9 win over the host school Ashland. The Lady Cardinals left a lasting impression on the tournament selection committee when they finished Saturday off with a 5-3 victory over Ursuline Academy of Cincinnati.

Overall, the Cardinals entered this week of play with a 9-5 record. The Canfield kids are unbeaten in the All American Conference's Red Tier, but have a killer slate of Red Tier matches upcoming with home-in-home series' against Warren Harding to start the week and Poland to begin next week. A home game against Austintown Fitch is set for May 2 and the Lady Falcons should be seething since the Cardinals already upended them 8-5 back on April 11.

Sophomore starting pitcher Kaili Gross pitched seven strong innings when Canfield ousted Ursuline Academy in the final game of the Classic. Gross gave up only three hits, walked one and struck out seven. She also had a double, a single and an RBI offensively. Kalin Kovach cracked two homeruns to pace Canfield's hitting. She also earned three RBIs. Amber Rose had a double in the win and Mary Gomez slapped two singles.

Earlier last Saturday, the Cardinals clubbed Ashland behind the hitting and pitching of Brooke Crissman. The junior jolted a triple and added three singles and three RBI's in an outstanding offensive performance. In the pitching circle, Crissman carved up Ashland hitters pitching a complete game and striking out four. Gross gathered two singles and a double to aid in the triumph. Jill Baker brought home two hits and a ribbie.

Canfield's only other win last week was a 13-3 clobbering over conference rival Boardman on April 18. Kovach clubbed a three-run homer and a triple in a muscle flexing display. The junior also knocked home four runs and scored three times. Gross had two doubles, a single and drove home three. Baker doubled and singled for the winners. Rose had two more hits. Gross fanned seven Lady Spartans en route to the pitching win.

According to head coach Ray Melewski, his club's ability to stay sharp despite the horrendous stretch of early spring weather has been very promising.

"Mother Nature hasn't been very kind to the Lady Cards this season," said Melewski, "but the girls have been working hard to stay sharp when called upon to play their next game."

Coach Melewski is hoping that sharpness remains evident as the weather begins to get better and the makeup games start to pile up.



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