CONNEAUTVILLE — Playing high school softball or baseball in northwest Pennsylvania can become a grind with games in the early part of the season often postponed due to inclement weather.

But one way to keep fresh and loose during the latter part of the season is to be involved in a playoff race. At least that’s the case for the Conneaut Valley softball team.

“You have to stay pumped up for every game,” Conneaut Valley sophomore center fielder Codie Onderko said. “You have to stay up and not let your heads get too big for one team and let one slip by, especially with everyone’s records so close. You just have to practice hard and stay focused.”

And so far, that seems to be working for the Lady Indians.

On Friday, Conneaut Valley ended a stretch of eight games in 10 days with a 7-0 win over Linesville. The win was the Indians’ sixth during the 10-day stretch as they improved to 9-4 overall and in Region 2.

“It’s been hard,” Valley coach Todd Griffin said of the last week-and-a-half. “It’s hard to regroup. You don’t have time to practice or to strategize on a team. You play one team one day and then you have to jump right into another team the next day without really preparing for that team.

“We just haven’t been able to do that.”

One team Valley was prepared for, though, was Linesville. The Indians pounded out nine hits against the Lions, three of which came off the bat of senior first baseman Kayla Miller.

Miller broke open a 3-0 game in the fifth inning with a two-run double, scoring Baylie Jones and Becca Braden. Miller then gave the Indians a 6-0 lead when she scored on a single by Amanda Mahoney in the same inning.

Miller finished the afternoon 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.

“Kayla has been one of our better hitters here in the last two weeks,” Griffin said. “She has really come on. I’m impressed with her.”

Onderko also had two hits on the afternoon as did Mahoney.

On the mound, Morgan Stearns pitched an outstanding game, giving up just two hits in seven innings of work. She walked four and struck out 10.

Kaylyn Hershelman had both of Linesville’s hits.

Conneaut Valley now gets three days off before heading into its biggest stretch of games this season.

The Indians take on Cambridge Springs at home Tuesday. They travel to Conneaut Lake on Thursday before coming back home to face Union City May 6.

The first place Blue Devils currently hold a three-and-a-half game lead over the Indians. Union City is in second place — three games up on Valley.

“That’s our goal right now,” Griffin said. “That would really be a feather in our caps if we could come up with a win against Cambridge and Union City. That’s what we’re gunning for. We’re going to gun for those teams.

“We’ll keep working.”

The players are certainly excited about that possibility.

“We’re really pumped,” Onderko said. “As long as we keep practicing hard I think it will turn out well.”



Lisa Byers can be reached at 724-6370, ext. 277 or by e-mail at lbyers@meadvilletribune.com.

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