PHOTO BY LISA McGINTY | LMc Photography
Dalton’s Abbi Snyder gets a hold of the ball April 14.
By ARIEL STAHLER
Gazette & News sports writer
It appears Dalton High School’s varsity softball team is hitting its stride. After a rough start to the season, the Lady Dawgs have been having some big moments. They shut out Chippewa 11-0 April 13 and took another game from the Chipps in a walk-off the next day. Dalton then took on Hoover and held close to the Division I team the whole game. They finished the week with losses to GlenOak and Massillon.
The Lady Dawgs had an eight-run second inning April 13, in which Lexi Vazquez hit a grand slam. Amber Jager hit a two-run homer during Dalton’s three-run fourth inning. Cadence Casto was the winning pitcher. She gave up no runs and three hits while walking one and striking out four batters.
The Lady Dawgs hosted Chippewa April 14 and defeated the Chipps 5-4. The game was scoreless until the third inning when both teams scored one run. Chippewa took the lead by one run in the fourth inning. Dalton drove in two runs in the fifth inning to regain the lead. The Chipps pulled ahead in the seventh inning when they scored two runs. Jager led off the bottom of the seventh by drawing a walk. Tess Denning was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second. Vazquez hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Jager to tie the game. Angelique Kosier singled in Denning for the walk-off win. Ava Fivecoat was the starter for Dalton. She gave up four earned runs on seven hits and fanned three Chipps.
Dalton proved just how much it can compete when the team faced Hoover April 16. The Vikings won 7-6, but the Lady Dawgs kept it close with the Division I team, who is No.1 in the Federal League.
“Huge game for us,” said Dalton’s head coach Pam Spencer. “We lost by one, but it was a very close game. We need to keep putting in the work and playing aggressive and things will come together both on offense and defense.”
Dalton drew the first run in the top of the first inning when Elle Mooney scored on an error. Hoover responded with four runs in the bottom of the first. Both teams traded a run in the third inning, as well as trading two runs in the fourth. The Lady Dawgs did not stop fighting. In the fifth, Vazquez hit a solo shot and Kosier doubled to later be sent home by a sacrifice bunt from Emma Hostetler. Casto gave up seven earned runs on 11 hits. She issued two walks and had two strikeouts.
The Lady Dawgs took on GlenOak April 17 at Genshaft Park in Massillon. The Golden Eagles won 14-5. GlenOak put up three runs on the board in the first inning. Dalton came back with one run in the bottom of the inning. The Golden Eagles added two runs in the second inning and Dalton came back to match those two runs in the third when Denning had a two-run double. GlenOak pulled away in the fourth when they pushed nine runs home. Vazquez smashed a two-run bomb in the fifth inning, but that was as close as Dalton would get.
The loss went to Fivecoat. She gave up 10 runs on 11 hits, issued five walks and struck out two hitters.
Dalton later faced Massillon and the Tigers won 14-11. Denning singled in a run in the first inning, but Massillon came back in the bottom of the inning to pile on seven runs. Denning hit a three-run homer in the third inning to narrow the gap and Mooney singled in another run in the fourth inning. The Tigers answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. The Lady Dawgs scored two runs in the fifth, but the Tigers once again responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Jager and Kosier had back-to-back two-RBI singles in the sixth inning. Massillon put the game out of reach when it scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Mooney took the loss. She had 12 runs on 13 hits, six walks and four strikeouts.
Dalton’s JV team defeated Chippewa 16-6 April 15. Lauren Falb struck out six hitters. The Lady Dawgs finished with 16 total hits. Skyler McConnell went 4 for 4 at the dish. Chloe Simmons, Savannah Wenger, AJ Lehman, Falb and McConnell all had doubles. The Lady Dawgs topped Chippewa 14-11 April 16. Dalton started the final inning trailing by nine runs. They dug in and scored 12 runs to overtake Chippewa’s lead. In the bottom of the inning, they held the Chipps scoreless to hold on for the win. Simmons, Falb and Wenger all had doubles. The JV team now has an overall record of 7-3 and they are 5-1 in league play.
Central Christian School’s varsity softball team shut out St. Peter’s 23-0 April 13 and 18-2 at home April 15.
CCS lost to Lake Center Christian 12-6 April. 16. Central had 20 hits in the game, but they could not overcome the early lead from Lake Center and their 21 hits.