Forbes Road softball on the rebound behind Schoen
Despite Fannett-Metal's impressive start to the season, and the ability to put up big numbers at the plate - there's something about Forbes Road.
In the opening game of the season, the Tigers and the Cardinals faced off in a one-run contest, which swung in F-M's favor - but Wednesday in their Sideling Hill League/Inter-County Conference softball matchup, Forbes Road came out on top of a one-run battle, led by Courtney Schoen in the circle and a solid defensive effort behind her.
The Cardinals broke Fannett-Metal's five-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory and Forbes' third straight win.
Forbes Road coach Pete Hall said, "We knew it was a big game. We saw the district rankings and we knew Fannett-Metal only had one loss, so our girls showed a lot more energy and more hunger tonight than they have all season."
Schoen fanned six batters while her defense went to work fielding a number of well-hit ground balls and limiting errors along the way.
"We've been making a lot more plays, which feels really good as a pitcher to know they are behind me," Schoen said. "They have good hitters and we saw that last time too, so there's definitely some pressure seeing those girls come up. But my curveball was working a lot better tonight than it has been, so that's what I lived on."
In the bottom of the third Forbes Road (4-4, 4-3 SHL, 4-2 ICC) was sparked by a one-out single by Lilith Wilt followed by a walk to put runners in scoring position. Christina Parsons stepped up to bat and sent an RBI single to left field, followed by a fielder's choice RBI by Schoen to bring in the eventual game-winning run.
But Fannett-Metal (8-2, 6-2 SHL, 5-2 ICC) responded in the next inning with a leadoff double by Morgan Ritchey, who, in the inning prior, registered the final out on a nifty play at short to get F-M out of a jam. An RBI single by Brooke Harris followed to start the rally, but a strikeout and two outs ended the inning with runners on first and second.
"Defense is a work in progress, and the girls have worked hard and they've invested themselves and that showed up tonight," Hall said. "They didn't rattle when things didn't go our way and when we needed to make a play, when Fannett-Metal had a rally, (the upperclassmen) were there to get it done."
"We knew Schoen was going to throw strikes and make us chase the ball down," Fannett-Metal coach Michael DeAngelo said. "She had our hitters off balance today and we chased a couple of first pitches and the defense came in behind her. They did the little things you have to do to get the W."
Fannett-Metal was also backed up by a stellar pitching performance by Harris, who has pitched in all but two innings so far this season. Harris gave up just two hits, but that wasn't enough to put it away. She struck out five batters.