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Falcons prep for playoffs
May 9, 2018

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A huge doubleheader in Hudson last Saturday afternoon ended a great week of games for the Fitch softball team.

Although the Lady Falcons split that twin bill with the Lady Explorers, they finished the stretch 3-1 to build great momentum heading into the Division I state tournament. Fifth seeded Fitch was scheduled to host number 12 seed Kenston on May 9 in the districts. The winner of that match is set to advance to play the victor of the tilt between number four Solon and number 13 Youngstown East.

Head coach Steve Ward feels his squad is ready to face any foe in the playoffs.

"One of our goals is to play our best in May," Ward said on the eve of the tournament. "We've taken every experience and challenged our team to learn and grow. The tourney is where we put it all together and leave everything out there."

Fitch's ladies certainly left a lot on the field in Hudson in game one of last weekend's double bill. An 11-run explosion by Fitch over the final four innings gave it enough padding to cruise to an 11-4 victory. The major inning in that span was the top of the sixth when the Falcons blew things open by scoring five times. Ashley Fuller smacked a grand slam, a double and a single to lead Fitch's barrage. She also earned six RBI's. Lydia Spalding had two singles and two walks and also picked up the pitching victory. Christina Tucker had a double, a single and an RBI. LeeAnna Franken had two hits as well.

The home team got the better of the local kids in the nightcap with a 4-2 win, but it didn't stop Fuller from continuing her torrid hitting. The junior jolted a double and a single giving her five hits and seven ribbies in the doubleheader. Fuller's Saturday in Hudson was a continuation of her clutch campaign.

"Ashley Fuller has had some big time hits and secured games for us," Ward marveled after the two games against the Explorers. "She has electrified our offense more than once this season. She will play a major role in our (future) success."

Ward's gang also snatched a pair of games from rival Boardman last week using amazing offense in one game and grand pitching in the other. On May 1, the Falcons stuffed the Lady Spartans on the road 18-4 thanks to a 20-hit outburst. Fitch tallied seven times over the first two innings then added four in the top of the fourth and seven more in the fifth to seal the Mercy Rule win. Kayla Kelty captured four hits for the winners. Tucker had a homerun and a single and brought home five runs. Lainie Simons slapped two hits and two ribbies. Kacie Roth had three hits. Kaitlyn Sciortino hit a two-run triple.

One day earlier, it was Fitch's pitching that subdued the Spartans. Specifically, it was Spalding who struck out 16 Spartan hitters en route to a dominating one hit, complete game shutout. Simons was Fitch's hitting star as she fell a home run shy of the cycle. Tucker added a pair of hits.

There is no doubt that Fitch's offense can score runs off the best pitchers in the area. That'll be important come playoff time because that is when number one starters are used early and often. In a district that has Canfield as the number 1 seed and potentially standing in front of whoever advances in the sectional semifinal, the Falcons will need to remain focused over the next couple weeks. Coach Ward doesn't see that as a problem

"I'm very confident in the group of players we have and that they will play with confidence and pride," Ward said.

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