St. Marys, Masters Blank Whg. Central, Force Deciding Game | News, Sports, Jobs

Wheeling Central catcher Ava Hanson leaps to grab a throw as St. Marys’ Zoey Winland (20) slides in safely during the seventh inning Tuesday on Ben’s Field at the J.B. Cmabers I-470 Sports Complex. The Maroon Knights dropped a 4-0 decision and must win Wednesday to keep their season alive.

WHEELING — St. Marys sophomore pitcher Cali Masters showed poise well beyond her years during Tuesday’s W.Va. Class A, Region I Softball game.

With the Blue Devils facing elimination in Game 2 of the regional series, Masters was masterful as she struck out a career high 15 batters in a 4-0 shutout win over Wheeling Central at Ben’s Field at the J.B. Chambers I-470 Sports Complex.

A winner-take-all Game 3 is set for tonight at 6 p.m. at St. Marys.

“(Masters) pitched a really good game,” Wheeling Central coach Buck Davidson said. “We just need to leave it all on the field (tonight). It’s either win or go home for the rest of the summer.”

Masters allowed just two walks and three hits and twice got out of trouble with runners on second and third without surrendering a run.

“She is super strong mentally,” St. Marys coach Lacy Riggs said of the sophomore. “When she sets her mind to something she usually gets it done. She rises to the occasion and very rarely buckles under pressure. Even as a freshman last year, she steps up when she needs to step up. She’s a great kid.”

The Blue Devils nearly grabbed the lead in the opening stanza but Central pitcher Josie Frizzell induced a pop up to shortstop Jocelyn Shaw, who quickly fired to second to catch the runner leaning too far off the bag to end the threat.

The game remained scoreless through three frames but back-to-back walks to lead off the fourth came back to haunt the Maroon Knights.

The third batter of the inning, Brylee McGrady, drilled a comebacker to Frizzell in the circle, who originally looked to first but quickly spun and tried to get the runner going to third. However, the throw whistled past the third baseman and the go-ahead run scampered across the dish.

Another run raced home on a RBI groundout by Breanna Price and an infield RBI knock off the bat of Ella Bullman created a 3-0 cushion for the Devils.

“They just outplayed us,” Davidson said. “We made a couple of mistakes and you definitely can’t give St. Marys runs for free.”

Ella Smith delivered an insurance run for St. Marys in the seventh when she grounded out to Shaw at short and the fourth run raced home.

With two outs for the Knights in the bottom of the seventh, Frizzell started some two-out lightning with a walk.

Maddie Miehle followed up with a two-out single over the third baseman’s head and the two runners each moved up a base later in the frame to put runners on second and third.

Despite the final effort, Masters recorded the final out on a fly ball to left field to send the series to a decisive Game 3 tonight at St. Marys.

“We had our backs against the wall and we knew that we either do or we don’t,” Riggs said. “We had to leave it all out there and they rose to the occasion. Cali had a career-high 13 Ks, our defense was good and we put bunts down when we needed to. I saw a different team (Tuesday).”

Taylor Knollinger, Ashlee Baker and Miehle supplied the lone three hits for the Maroon Knights.

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