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Warren girls lose pitchers’ duel to Villa

ERIE — After missing 2020 due to COVID restrictions, why not play extra innings?

In a tremendous pitchers’ duel this early in the season, Warren’s softball team fell to Villa Maria, 3-2, in eight innings, Tuesday.

Maddie Hess struck out 14 over eight innings for Villa Maria, but Warren’s Kelsey Stuart was in line for the win before a two-run bottom of the eighth.

Villa shortstop Haley Dever’s two-out, two-run hit won it for the Victors in the conference opener for both.

A close safe call for Villa on a pick-off play at third base loomed large and Stuart struck out the next batter in what would have been the last out of the game. Warren lost the appeal and the contest.

Even in the season-opening loss, Warren coach Carissa Stuart complimented the Dragons’ pitching and defense.

“Take away one questionable call in the bottom of the eighth and we win,” said coach Stuart. “(Maddie Hess is the) best pitcher we’ll face in District 10.”

Stuart said Rylie Yeager “had heads-up base-running to move to third base on an error on bunt coverage, and then they overthrew the third baseman to put us ahead one in the top of the eighth.”

Yeager’s hit to start the eighth was Warren’s fourth hit. Warren took a 1-0 lead in the first when Alix Lytle knocked in Ellee Irwin, who had doubled.

Hess allowed just one more hit — a single by Lexi Hoffman to lead off the second inning — until the eighth. Hess retired 18 straight from the second through the seventh and didn’t walk a batter. Stuart didn’t walk anyone either, striking out six.

“Our defense was on key,” said Coach Stuart. “Rylie Yeager made three great plays at second base. Lexi Hoffman made a diving catch in right field to get us out of an inning. Kelsey pitched a great game, no walks. I couldn’t ask for better defense behind her. We played well as a team; just need to wake the bats up.”

In a 7-4 junior varsity loss over three innings, Hoffman, Carly Beers, and Katie Madigan pitched an inning each for Warren. Madigan had two hits.

IKE FALLS TO COCHRANTON

RUSSELL — Eisenhower ran into some strong pitching, falling to Cochranton, 16-1, at Warner Field.

Phoebe Tower scored the lone run for the Knights (0-3). Julia Gesing smacked a pair of singles and Payton Frank had one.

In the junior varsity game, Cochranton prevailed, 15-2.

Kailee Morrison and Wren Hebner each scored a run for Eisenhower (0-3).

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