CAMBRIDGE - Steubenville Catholic Central right fielder Sara Moziejko drove in the only run the Crusaders produced with a second-inning single Thursday against Fort Frye at Cambridge City Park.
It was also the only run they needed as pitcher Paige Creamer's strong outing was complemented by a nearly flawless defensive performance behind her en route to a 1-0 victory against Fort Frye and an Ohio Division III District crown.
''It really feels good,'' Steubenville Catholic coach Jim DiCarlo said. ''Our kids battled really hard. Paige pitched a great game and played good defense. I'm really happy for them.
Steubenville Catholic’s Allee Vandeborne makes a throw during Thursday’s district final.
Photo by Fred Younce
''Making it to the regionals is an unbelievable feeling.''
Steubenville Catholic's Taylor Clark started off the run-scoring series with a one-out single. She was followed immediately by a Ashlynne Daley blast to center for a double that sent Clark to third. Two batters later Moziejko laced a ground ball that a diving Cadets second baseman was unable to bring in for a single and a 1-0 Crusaders lead.
''They battle and battle and sometimes you get a break,'' DiCarlo said. ''It was going to be really hard getting a run off of her (Fort Frye pitcher Victoria Mimken) and Ashlynne got a big hit and Sara got a couple nice hits for us including the big one that knocked the run in.''
That was enough for Creamer who while only striking out one batter, forced the Cadets to ground out 13 times and scattered three singles. Fort Frye only had one runner past first base.
Allee Vandeborne had a strong day in the field. The Crusaders second baseman was involved in the third out in six of the seven innings including snagging a line drive for an out and throwing to first to catch a base runner off for a double play to end the sixth.
''It was a hard infield and I thought we did a really nice job making some plays we needed to make in the game,'' DiCarlo. ''I'm just proud of our kids.''
Creamer stayed consistent from start to finish and when Fort Frye stepped to the plate in the top of the seventh, she calmly put them down in order. Daley made a nice play on a hard-hit grounder to third for the first out and the second came on a groundout back to Creamer. The game's final out came when Fort Frye's Natalie Sluth hit a shot to left that looked to have a chance to drop, but left fielder Maddie Gulan charged, dove, and made a highlight-reel catch to secure a victory.
''To shut this team out is amazing,'' DiCarlo said. ''We knew we weren't getting that many runs. I told them it was going to be a low-scoring game.
''I didn't know it would be this low-scoring.''
The Crusaders travel to Lancaster High School at 5 on Thursday to take on the winner of Saturday's game between Lucasville Valley and Chillicothe Zane Trace.
''I had a heart (catheterization) Friday after the St. Clairsville game,'' DiCarlo said. ''I was under the weather there. Bill Davis and Craig Creamer did a great job of coming up to scout.
''I'd like to thank all our coaches but also Mindy Nash for throwing batting practice.''