United takes care of Liverpool

EAST LIVERPOOL – Where the East Liverpool softball team slipped, United seized the opportunity.

The Eagles took advantage of the Potters’ loss of focus in the third inning and never let go as the Eagles picked up the 9-4 victory Thursday.

“I think we’re finally starting to play well together,” United pitcher Amanda Hall said. “We’re getting in the groove and it’s working.”

The Eagles (3-13) found their groove in the third inning as it took advantage of the seemingly unfocused Potters (8-6) with RBI singles from MacKenzie Firth, Elle Smith and Tyler Buckius along with singles from Hall and Lauren Buttermore.

“We just got the momentum going,” Hall said. “Everyone did their part as a team, and we just kept going. We just never gave it up”

Hall did her part as she picked up the victory on the mound with five strikeouts and two walks, and also doing their part was freshman Bethany Jewell and Haylee Hawk in the unfamiliar position of catcher, which impressed coach Ryan Burd.

“Bethany has been getting some solid hits this season, but she was able to connect a couple times in the outfield tonight,” Burd said. “That was Haylee’s first game catching in her entire life. Given all of that, I couldn’t be more proud of what we did tonight.”

Much like the Eagles’ sweep of Lisbon two weeks ago, confidence is back for the Eagles.

“I’ve told the girls to keep playing hard,” Burd said. “We are a good team in my opinion. We’ve had a tough schedule, and I don’t think our record necessarily indicates how good of a team we really are.”

The Potters, meanwhile, did respectably with Elise Smith on the mound as she struck out two early, but in the third inning the defense slipped.

It could have been blamed on miscommunication, inexperience or a lack of focus. Whatever it was, the Potters gave up five runs that inning and despite two runs from Chelsea Possage along with a run from Sis Hilliard and an RBI single from Haylee Cunningham, the Potters just couldn’t get out of the jam.

“Once we had that bad third inning, that was it,” Potters coach Erik Adkins said. “Once you have an inning where you dig yourself a hole, it’s hard to get out of it.”

The Potters’ battery struggled further as catcher Dom Stidfole missed several pitches from Smith.

“She came in and tried really hard,” Adkins said. “That one bad inning, though, just really hurt us.”

Stidfole sat in for the first six innings for Lindsay Baker. Baker was participating at a track meet at Oak Glen, but made it back in time for the seventh inning where she hit a double.

The Potters will look to get back in the groove as it moves on to the weekend games, now that their five-day layoff due to the rain is over.

“The weather just hadn’t worked out too well for us,” Adkins said. “We had been off since last weekend, and the rain didn’t help, but we’ll just have to get back into the groove and move on. Tomorrow’s another day.”

Both teams return to action today as the Eagles host South Range and the Potters head to East Palestine.

Game notes

Sydney Moats missed Thursday’s game for the Eagles due to a death in the family.

U: 1-0-5-2-0-0-1-9-10-1

EL: 1-0-1-0-0-1-1-4-7-2

U-Amanda Hall, wp (7IP, 5K, 2BB) and Haylee Hawk.

EL-Elise Smith, lp (7IP, 5K, 2BB) and Dom Stidfole, Lindsay Baker.