By Rob Kiser
PIQUA —- What a difference a game —- or maybe just an inning —- makes.
After the Edison State softball team had a perfect game thrown against them in the opening game of a doubleheader with two-time defending OCCAC champions Cuyahoga Friday, it took the Chargers just one inning to bounce back.
In the first inning of the second game, Edison batted around to score eight runs and held on for a 9-7 victory to split the doubleheader.
The Chargers are now 7-9 overall, while Tri-C is 16-6.
“They (Cuyahoga) are the 17th-ranked team in the nation,” Edison State coach Dan Cain said. “That was a good win for us. the first game, that girl (Lyndsey Baglia, who pitched the perfect game), just had our number. “
After Cuyahoga had scored two runs in the top of the first of the second game, Mackenzie Smith opened the home first with a double and Adrianna Hicks followed with a single, before Wendy Hawk drew a one-out walk to load the bases.
Maddie White had an infield single to score a run, Rayna Brownlee had a RBI single, Hallie Snyder had a two-run double and Hannah Oaks had a RBI single to make it 5-2 and Tri-C starter Brooke Crider was replaced by Mackenzie Mosier.
Smith, who would go 4-for-4 in the game and Hick both had RBI singles to make it 7-2.
“Mackenzie Smith came out and set the tone for us with that double and everybody hit,” Cain said.
That brought in Baglia. Her perfect game mastery didn’t carry over as Alexis Romine greeted her with a RBI single to make it 8-2 before Baglia ended the rally.
“Lexi struggled a little at the plate today, but she greeted Baglia with that shot up the middle,” Cain said.
Daniele Rivera entered in the third inning for Cuyahoga and held the Chargers to three hits and one run the rest of the way —- a RBI single by Mackenzie Smith in the third.
“We lost our patience and decided to just go up there swinging,” Cain said.
And Tri-C wasn’t going to go down without a fight.
The Challengers got one run in the fourth and four more in the fifth to get within 9-7.
“It was kind of like a game against a Pennsylvania team earlier this season,” Cain said. “We were up six runs and balls just started falling in and we ended up losing. And that is kind of what happened today. Cuyahoga is a good hitting team and there were some dinks that found holes.”
Edison also made some big plays defensively.
Brownlee at second base turned two double plays and the Chargers got an out in the four run inning when Romine took a throw from the outfield and caught a runner between third and home for an out.
“They (Cuyahoga) were being aggressive,” Cain said. “I told our outfield, don’t just toss it back in. Throw it home. Lexi (Romine) got throw and was able to get an out. And Rayna (Brownlee) turned a couple of big double plays.”
One came in the sixth inning after Lexi Rhem had a leadoff single and Romine survived the seventh, when Tri-C put the tying runs on. She helped herself during the inning, getting a forceout at third on a bang-bang play.
“I can’t say enough about Lexi (Romine),” Cain said. “She had to come in and pitch a little that first game and threw a lot of pitches. She told me, ‘I don’t know if I have two more innings in me coach’. She did a great job battling out there.”
In the opening game, Cuyahoga dominated.
The Challengers had 17 hits while Edison never had a baserunner.
Alexis Lopez hit a three-run homer and Baglia dominated on the mound.
She faced the minimum 15 batters, striking out five.
“She just kept us off-balance the whole game,” Cain said. “And we were three girls down, so we had some players playing different positions defensively. We just learned Lexi Long is going to be in a boot for a little while. So, to come out and split with one of the top teams in the league, that is big.”
The Chargers will be back in action Saturday, hosting Lakeland for a doubleheader.
“I still have two pitchers fresh,” Cain said. “Those are big games for us. This win tonight for Lexi (Romine) was well deserved. She usually has to face the other team’s ace in the opening game. We changed things around today because of being down three people. Hopefully, by the end of the season, we can have a say in the league race.”
After a big-bounce back to get a win over a nationally ranked team.