The pieces are all starting to fit together for Elmwood’s softball team.
The Royals are getting timely hitting, playing good defense and Marissa Lee is being tough on opposing hitters.
Elmwood put all those elements together at Bowling Green High School Thursday, beating Woodmore, 4-0 in the Division III district semifinal. The Royals, now 16-9 overall, face Suburban Lakes League-foe Genoa for the district title in a noon start on Saturday. PHOTO GALLERY
“I’ve said all along when Elmwood gets to the tournament, we’re a tough team to beat,” Royals’ head coach Matt Hoiles said.
In all started in the circle as Lee pitched a three-hitter, striking out eight and walking one. Only two Woodmore runners reached second base and one was there very briefly as the Royals turned a double play on a sacrifice bunt. Brittney Mondragon walked with one out in the seventh and moved to second on a throwing error. Lee then got the final two outs on the game, as the final two Woodmore hitters both battled with eight-pitch at-bats.
“Marissa was hitting her spots, in and out and her change-up was beautiful,” Hoiles said. “They have a few hits off her, but nothing where it was really going to hurt. She was throwing excellent today.”
In Elmwood’s last game against Woodmore, Lee pitched a no-hitter, striking out eight and walking two in a 5-1 win.
Off that performance on May 5, Woodmore coach Aaron Clouse knew his team would be in for a tough challenge.
“We knew going into it that we were going to have to fight for every inch we could get,” Clouse said. “She was constantly ahead of us, working 0-2, 1-2 and when she gets there, she can pretty much put it where she wants.”
Morgan Arnold, Elmwood’s catcher, said Lee had everything working. Lee improved to 15-5 with the win. It was her 20th complete game and fourth shutout of the season.
“She was getting them on our new trick pitch (a change-up),” Arnold said. “It was working really well.”
Arnold, who came into the game as Elmwood’s leading hitter at .434, was involved in every Elmwood scoring play.
In the first inning, Arnold reached first on a passed ball after a strike out and then scored on Emily Reynolds’ sizzling double.
In the third inning, Arnold reached on an error and came home on Whitney Striff’s single to center.
The Royals added two insurance runs in the sixth inning with a two-out rally. Sierra Beckford worked a walk and Brittany George followed with a double to right-center. Arnold then scored both runners with a single.
“Today we played really great,” Arnold said. “We put the ball in play like we needed to and scored some runs.”
“The two-run lead is nice to have, but Woodmore is scrappy. To get those last two were pretty nice,” Hoiles said.
Woodmore also turned a double play on an Elmwood sacrifice bunt, cutting down the runner attempting to score from second at the plate in the first inning.
The Wildcats, now 18-8 overall, have two SLL games remaining, against Eastwood and Genoa.
The Royals, first in the SLL at 8-2, have league games at Otsego on Monday and against Genoa on Tuesday.
On Saturday, the Royals face a tough challenge in Genoa.
“(Sarah) Muncey is back for them. She’s a very good pitcher,” Hoiles said. “They have a pretty good team with her on the mound. I think they’re playing a lot different with her on the mound.”
“Genoa started out kind of rough, but now they Muncey and it seems like she’s pitching pretty well,” Arnold said.
ELMWOOD 4, WOODMORE 0
WOODMORE 000 000 0—0 3 2
ELMWOOD 101 002 X—4 9 2
HITS — (W) Busdeker, Mondragon, Clowers; (E) Arnold 2, Striff 2, B. George, Reynolds, Pollard, Peters, Beckford. 2B — (E) B. George, Reynolds. RUNS — (E) Arnold 2, B. George, Beckford. RBI — (E) Arnold 2, Reynolds, Striff. SAC — (W) Phillips; (E) Schwind. LOB — Woodmore 4. Elmwood 8. Double play — Woodmore 1. Elmwood 1
IP H R ER BB SO
Stone (LP) 6 9 4 3 2 5
Lee (WP) 7 3 0 0 1 8