MEDINA — Senior Claire Rambo knew if the Medina softball team was going to knock Elyria off its Greater Cleveland Conference perch, the Bees had to come out focused and step up when the time was right.
As it turns out, the catcher roped a walk-off double that scored Catherine Stossel in the bottom of the seventh inning Wednesday to secure a huge 2-1 victory over the Pioneers and take control of the GCC race from the three-time defending champions.
“It feels great. Elyria always comes out really strong,” Rambo said. “I just knew that we had to keep our heads together, keep it loose, and I’m just really proud of my team and where we are this season.”
The Pioneers have won four straight conference championships dating to 2014, when Medina won the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division.
Stossel worked a one-out walk in a six-pitch at-bat to open the seventh. Center fielder Alexa Nau followed her fellow senior by lining her third hit of the game, over the glove of Elyria shortstop Maddison Olszewski into center, to set up Rambo’s heroics.
“Last time we definitely didn’t play our best game against Elyria, and we tried to focus more on our own game,” Bees coach Jessica Toocheck said. “It was nice seeing the girls put the ball in play, trust that it would fall when it needed to and have quality at-bats.”
Medina (14-3, 8-1) lost to the Pioneers (14-4, 7-3) 9-0 last week for their lone GCC defeat.
Until the seventh inning, the evening belonged to Medina pitchers Caitlin Dunlap and Kylie Hosey, as well as Elyria’s Izzy St. Peter.
As is custom, Dunlap started and tossed four innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits and two intentional walks of Elyria catcher Maycee Godbolt. Hosey earned the win in relief with three shutout innings, allowing just one hit and retiring 9-of-10 batters.
The duo combined to throw 71-of-97 pitches for strikes.
“(Dunlap) probably had her best outing of the season today,” Toocheck said. “Everything was on, everything was moving. Her and (Hosey) work really well together and are a great duo. (Hosey) came in when she needed to and shut them down.”
The Bees got on the scoreboard first after Nau led off the game with an infield single. After Rambo sacrificed Nau to second, St. Peter, who walked seven, gave free passes to Anna Aquino and Meadow Nardone to load the bases. Second baseman Ana LaGuardia plated Nau with a sacrifice fly to shallow center.
The Pioneers answered in the third inning when Adrian Petrisko led off by reaching on an error. The junior advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on a single by Jessica Chapman, with Petrisko knocking the ball out of Rambo’s glove on the slide into home plate.
Medina kept the game tied despite an Elyria threat in the sixth inning. Damia Parks, Elyria’s lone senior, led off with a single through the middle and stole second. Olszewski reached on an error and Parks tried to score, but Nardone recovered the ball and threw home in time to record the out.
Greater Cleveland Conference
Medina 2, Elyria 1
ELYRIA 001 000 0 – 1 4 0
MEDINA 100 000 1 – 2 5 3
One out when winning run was scored. WP – Kylie Hosey (10-1) 3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout. LP – Izzy St. Peter (10-2) 6 1/3 innings, 2 runs, 2 earned, 5 hits, 7 walks, 2 strikeouts. Elyria (14-4, 7-3) – Jessica Chapman single, RBI. Medina (14-3, 8-1) – Alexa Nau 3 singles, run; Claire Rambo double, RBI; Meadow Nardone double; Catherine Stossel 2 walks, run.