Martins Ferry (14-6) made quick work of Bellaire Tuesday afternoon high atop the Purple City in Buckeye 8 softball action.
Tyrah King's two-run homer in the fourth inning backed the three-hit pitching of Shaye DeLeonardis in the Purple Riders' 2-0 blanking of the visiting Big Reds (17-4) in just 51 minutes.
"It was definitely a quick one," Martins Ferry head coach Paige Williams said. "I'll take a win any day. It wasn't real pretty, but a victory is a victory."
MARTINS FERRY shortstop Kylie Stalder (17) gloves a throw to second as Bellaire’s Dallas Messenger slides in safely with a stolen base during Tuesday afternoon’s action. The Purple Riders won, 2-0.
The two rivals were locked in a scoreless battle heading to the bottom of the fourth as DeLeonardis and Bellaire's Megan Ging were putting up goose eggs.
However, Purple Rider senior Kylie Stalder reached on an infield single leading off. On the very next pitch, freshman Tyrah King became Martins Ferry's all-time single-season home run leader when she drilled a mammoth shot to left-centerfield for the only two runs of the game.
The roundtripper was King's seventh of the season, surpassing former standout Kayla Lewis.
"We needed to get back in stride," Williams said after back-to-back emotional losses to Buckeye Local (OVAC 4A semifinal) and Harrison Central (Buckeye 8). "Defensively, I think we got back in stride. Now, we have to get our bats going again.
"Like I said before, I'll take a victory any day, but our bats were silent today. Hopefully, they will come around."
The whitewashing was the second straight game in which Bellaire hasn't scored as it lost 1-0 Saturday in the OVAC Class 3A championship game to Fort Frye.
"When you're flat, you serve up meatballs and you leave your bats in Bellaire and this is what happens," head coach Melissa Lahna admitted. "We're 17-4 and we have no fire. Thank God for our defense."
King was the lone player for Martins Ferry with more than one hit as she singled in the sixth, but was erased on the second double play turned in by the Lady Reds on the day. DeLeonardis added a double.
Dallas Messenger had a pair of infield hits off the steady DeLeonardis, who struck out five and walked just one. The Purple Riders' freshman induced nine groundball outs; two line drive outs; and a pair of infield popups. Only four balls reached the outfield grass, one being Mary Garloch's two-out single in the sixth. The other three were flyball outs.
"Our bats just haven't been there the last two games," Lahna noted. "We need to get them going again."
Ging struck out two and walked none in scattering five hits.
Martins Ferry is back in action today against Bridgeport at Irene Ehni Memorial Field. Bellaire is idle until Thursday when it ventures to Wintersville to meet Indian Creek.
Bellaire 000 000 0 - 0 3 2
Martins Ferry 000 200 x - 2 5 0
Batteries: Ging and Messenger. DeLeonardis and Hotlosz
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