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Historic win at Hoover has Lady Falcons flying high

April 3, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

It is never an easy task for a local softball team to travel to North Canton and compete against Hoover.

Beating the Lady Vikings on the road is almost impossible. That didn't intimidate the Fitch softball team last Friday afternoon, however. A two-out RBI single by freshman Maddy Taylor in the top of the sixth inning gave the Fitch girls an impressive 4-3 victory in Stark County. That triumph on the Vikings' home turf was one of the most satisfying in longtime Fitch head coach Steve Ward's career.

"When you walk into Goodpasture Stadium you walk by eight state title monuments," Ward said. "Then while warming up, there are all of their banners and you realize they were in the Final Four just two years ago. As a competitor we want to be going into a place like that and fight. We showed we can compete at a high level. We showed poise and confidence throughout the game especially in the final two innings."

Those final two innings started with the Lady Falcons scoring that run after senior Kayla Kelty started the sixth with a double. Fitch then had to hold off Hoover over the home team's final two at bats. The Vikings had multiple opportunities to either tie the score or take the lead, but Fitch's superstar sophomore pitcher Lydia Spalding buckled down and held Hoover at bay. Spalding would strike out 10 Vikings and allow only four hits in her complete game victory. Taylor would also hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning to account for all four of the Falcons' runs last Friday.

Taylor was also terrific in another Falcons win last week. The rookie ripped a pair of homers, two singles and had seven RBIs in Fitch's 18-2 win over Ashtabula Lakeside on March 26. Senior Lainie Simons went five for five. The Falcons only needed four innings to gain 21 hits and put the Lady Dragons down.

"Our offense exploded behind Maddy Taylor and Lainie Simons," said Ward.

Senior Ashley Fuller had a superb day coming up a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. Spalding and Kelty each had a double. Senior Ryleigh Morgan had a double and a single. Juniors Kaitlyn Evanko and Jenna Chmelik combined to work four innings in relief of Spalding giving up just two hits. Evanko K'd five in her time in the circle.

That win in Ashtabula was the second one for Fitch over Lakeside last week. It also dumped the Dragons 12-2 on March 25 at home. That game didn't last seven innings either as the Falcons efficiently disposed of the Dragons in just six frames. Fitch scored eight runs total in the bottom of the fifth and sixth to turn the game into a Mercy Rule affair. Spalding started and worked a little over five innings to capture her first win of the season. She fanned 11 and gave up only two hits. Conversely, the Falcons laced 12 hits and were walked 10 times by erratic Lakeside pitching. Simons, Morgan and sophomore Elyssa Molody all hit homers. Simons' was a three-run shot. Morgan and Molody both added singles. Spalding was splendid at the dish too with two doubles and two ribbies. Taylor foreshadowed her big week with a double and a single.

Ward's 3-1 club will have a huge week ahead of them as they battled Boardman in a home-in-home series to kick off the slate. After visiting LaBrae, the Falcons will face another historically hot team from down south when they meet Massillon Perry on April 6. A twin bill with division foe Warren Harding kicks off next week. Ward realizes that the huge win over Hoover won't mean much if his group doesn't handle their work against the Lady Panthers and the Red Tier teams.

"Our players know the AAC this week will be tough, and they also know Massillon Perry has the number one state ranking," he said. "We will not change how our program looks at any of these games. We'll keep working to improve no matter the outcome."



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