YOUNGSTOWN — By her own admission, Paige Ogden wasn’t in the right frame of mind at the start of the Ursuline and Cardinal Mooney rivalry. As a result, the Cardinals jumped on him early, as Alaina Francis and Alaina Scavina threw back-to-back solo home runs over the left-field fence.
After that awakening and a brief visit with coach Kristina Dugan, Ogden dominated. The Irish ace finished with 17 strikeouts and allowed just one hit for the remainder of the game as Ursuline (13-1) rallied for a 7-2 victory over her arch-rival Monday at Youngstown State.
“I wasn’t really in the mood at the start of the match” Ogden said. “I don’t know. I guess I just needed to settle down and relax.
That’s exactly what she did. After allowing those early homers, Ogden struck out the next eight batters she faced, including twice to the sideline during that streak and another time later.
Ogden finished with a full game and allowed both runs on three hits. She walked a batter and hit another with a pitch.
“I think she hit her spots well and pitched well,” Dugan said. “(The tour) was just, ‘Hey, you’ve got this, and there’s nobody better out there.’ (Mooney) had two good shots – they’re two good shots, and we’ll give them credit. But (I told him), ‘I know you got that.’
After those early homers, Mooney’s bats fell silent until Scavina doubled in the sixth inning. She was one of three Cardinals (4-5) to reach base Monday, as Mooney’s hitters spent a lot of time chasing high pitches.
“We’ve seen some good pitchers this year, and (Ogden) was another,” Mooney’s coach Mark Rinehart said. “We didn’t have the discipline to get the ball down to him where he can hit it. We didn’t show good knowledge of the strike zone, and that’s a little disappointing.
He added, “She had a bunch of strikeouts. We would have liked to put the ball in play more and see if we could put some pressure on them. We tried to make the adjustment, and she shut us down. So you have to give credit (to the Ursulines).
As Ogden settled in, the Ursuline offense immediately got to work. The Irish batters had seven runs over the first three innings of the game, all of which came with two outs.
Late in the first, Madelyn Miklandric of the Ursulines made two runs on a sacrifice fly ball to center field, the second of which scored after a throwing error.
Then, in the second inning, Alyssa Sheely scored a triple into the right center spread, and she was brought home on a single by Kyleigh Golden. Sheely finished with three hits – a triple, a double and a single. Miklandric doubled as well.
Ursuline completed her scoring late in the third, as Savannah Patrone hammered a three-run homer into the center field bleachers.
“We fought, and I thought in the first three innings, when Ursuline scored, it was like we got two out every time, and we would make a mistake,” Rinhart said. “They took advantage of it, and that’s what good teams do. So you have to give them credit for it.
Scavina came on as relief for Mooney in the fourth set and didn’t allow Ursuline to score the rest of the game. In her three innings on the job, she struck out eight Irish batters and walked zero.
“She is ready and she works hard” Rinehart said of Scavina. “She moves the ball, changes speed and her throws have a lot of movement. This makes her hard to hit. … She kept (Ursuline) where they were; we just couldn’t muster anything offensively.