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SOFTBALL: JM Wins 26th Straight

Howard knocks in three as Monarchs best St.C

April 20, 2012
By SHAWN RINE - Sports Editor ( , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

GLEN DALE - John Marshall softball coach Ed West admits to not being sure what the previous school record for consecutive victories was prior to this season. Frankly, the only thing he cares about is the fact the Monarchs extended the mark Friday at home against St. Clairsville.

Kylie Howard drove in three runs and Kristin Lewicki reached base and scored three times as John Marshall (26-2) earned an 8-4 victory against the Red Devils (10-10), their 26th in a row.

West said he talked to former coach Pancho Flores on Thursday about the subject and the two agreed that no team in school history ever won more in a row.

Article Photos

John Marshall’s Amy Rotriga, left, stretches out to make a play on St. Clairsville’s Lauren Figura on Friday afternoon.

Photo by Shawn Rine

''We've maybe won 26 games in a season before, back in the days when we were really good,'' West said. ''To be that consistent for that many games in a row, is tough (and) we don't play a weak schedule.

''I don't know what to say, other than the girls have done an outstanding job and they've been really focused.''

The victory concludes the regular season for the Monarchs, which begs the question: have they peaked too soon? West said that only slightly concerns him, but added ''I certainly don't want the streak to end now coming into tournament play.''

The Monarchs jumped on top in the first after Lewicki reached on a bunt single, stole second and eventually scored on a Howard groundout. John Marshall then took control with a four-run third.

Jackie Gellner was hit by a pitch, Lewicki reached on an error and Sissy George found her way to first when Gellner successfully beat a rundown and scored on George's shot to third.

Howard followed with a two-run single down the left-field line and winning pitcher Megan Garcia grounded out to get another run home.

''We put out a pretty decent effort, our pitching was good and we were able to manufacture some runs against a good pitcher - probably one of the best we've seen this year,'' Red Devils coach Rachel Duncan said. ''A few little errors, though, and you can't have any - especially a good team.''

St. Clairsville loaded the bases on a walk and two singles with one out in the fourth, and scored its first run on a single by Carlee Gillespie. But Garcia, who went the distance, struck out the next two batters to escape without further damage.

The Red Devils added another in the fourth. Jesse Machovina beat out an infield single and came around to score when Lauren Figura's single into left was misplayed.

John Marshall, though, put it away in the fifth with three runs, though St. Clairsville got two back with two outs in the seventh when losing pitcher Figura ripped a two-run homer.

Lewicki was involved in just about every Monarchs run.

''If she gets the ball down fair I'd say she's got a pretty good chance of getting on,'' West said. ''She's pretty quick at getting down the line, and not only that, but she can hit the ball when she swings the bat. They start moving the third baseman up and she hits away, she can hurt somebody.''

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