PERRYSBURG — In a battle between two Division I state ranked teams, No. 3 Anthony Wayne defeated No. 8 Perrysburg, 1-0, in Northern Lakes League softball Friday.
AW improves to 18-1 overall and 8-1 in the NLL, while Perrysburg falls to 19-2 and 7-2. Also in the hunt is No. 2 Springfield, which has already handed the Yellow Jackets and Generals one league loss.
That’s why AW coach Ron Myers knows anytime his team faces off with Perrysburg or Springfield, he expects a battle.
“Coming out here against a very well-coached (Ryan) DeMars’ team, they are ranked eighth in the state,” Myers said.
“We currently have what I think is three of the best teams in the state in the NLL, being Perrysburg, Springfield and Anthony Wayne.”
Perrysburg junior pitcher Maison Gerrard and AW pitchers Brooklyn Patchen and Katelyn Meyers put zeros on the board through five innings, but the Generals figured out a way to put one across in the top of the sixth, thanks to an unearned run.
Teya Marshall reached on a throwing error that took Perrysburg freshman first baseman Morgan Hoverman off the bag, and the Generals made the Yellow Jackets pay for it.
Molly Conner belted a long fly ball to the center field fence, over the head of junior center fielder Jess Miller, for a double, and Marshall scored all the way from first base for what proved to be the winning run.
The Generals left 10 runners on base, so it seemed only a matter of time before the dam broke.
“This was an epic battle today,” Myers said. “We left a lot of runners on base. We just couldn’t get them in until Molly got up and got that RBI for us and brought Teya Marshall in.”
DeMars, like the several hundred fans who attended the game, had the feeling that this game was going to come down to a play or two.
“Anytime you get two high-quality teams together that is what can happen,” DeMars said. “It came down to those plays they made, they were able to scratch a run across, and we weren’t quite able to come back with the answer.”
DeMars was proud of Gerrard, who struck out six, walked four, and allowed four hits and no earned runs through seven innings, but the Yellow Jackets had three errors. She threw 132 pitches, 79 for strikes, facing 32 batters.
“I am super proud of Maison. I thought she pitched a heck of a game. She was able to pitch out of multiple threats, she was able to make plays, she fielded her position and she just battled,” DeMars said.
“She went up there and she was just going to battle, battle, battle and that’s what she did, and she gave her team a chance today.”
Besides Conner’s double, Megan Sumner was 2-for-4 and lead-off hitter Abi Kennelly had a base hit and stolen base. Trinity Nowicki reached after getting hit by a pitch.
Patchen started in the circle for the Generals, striking out four, walking one, and allowing two hits in 4.2 innings. Kat Meyers, who got the win, struck out four, walked none, and allowed two hits over 2.1 innings.
Coach Myers says pitching is the strength of his team, and it showed as both pitchers have nearly unhittable velocity.
“We had a lot of great pitching. Brooklyn Patchen came in and did her job, and then Kat came in and slammed the door on them the last couple innings,” Myers said.
“We’re blessed with a pitching staff here with four D-I college-level pitchers, so our strength is our pitching and if we can put a few runs on the board, that is what we are looking to do.”
Seven of AW’s nine starters are signed or committed to playing at the next level, including Patchen (Craighton), Kat Meyers (Michigan), Ally Meyers (Ohio), Marshall (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), Nowicki (Kennesaw State), and Kennelly (Kent State) at the NCAA Division I level.
Most of AW’s players already have three or four years of varsity experience under their belt, while the Yellow Jackets have just two seniors — Cassie Plummer and Lexie Vaillant.
Perrysburg junior Ella Leonard went 2-for-4, Miller and Vaillant had base hits, plus the Jackets did a reasonable job putting the ball in play and taking AW pitchers into deep counts, which was what DeMars wanted to see.
“We’re happy with a lot of our at-bats,” DeMars said. “We were able to put the ball in play and get some hits.
“We are going to learn from that, and we are going to try and make some adjustments so we can get some more hits the next time.”
The two teams square off again in NLL play on Monday, May 15 in Whitehouse, first pitch scheduled for 5 p.m.