Young Mohawks handle Ross, improve to 2-0 on softball diamond

Madison’s Maggie Schenck connects for one of her two hits during Saturday’s game at Ross. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD
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Madison’s Maggie Schenck connects for one of her two hits during Saturday’s game at Ross. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

Madison High School’s softball team is young and confident.

The Mohawks only have two seniors and are off to a 2-0 start in the Doug Pemberton era, with freshman Carly Metcalf firing a three-hitter with nine strikeouts Saturday in a 4-1 road win over Ross.

“We have everything we need,” Metcalf said. “We’re all together. It’s like the definition of a family.”

Pemberton, the junior varsity coach at Lakota East the last three years, believes in setting high goals and going after them.

“The pieces are here. We’re just hoping we continue to stay healthy,” he said. “The future looks good, but we’re playing now. We want to be in the final four in the state this year. We feel that if we play like we’re playing right now, we can be there. I honestly think that’s something we can push.”

Madison fell to Badin in a Division III sectional final last season, and coach Joe Amstutz announced his resignation after the game.

Maddy Foster of Ross beats the throw to Madison first baseman Sy Beachler on Saturday at Ross. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD
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Maddy Foster of Ross beats the throw to Madison first baseman Sy Beachler on Saturday at Ross. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

The Mohawks lost six seniors from that squad. Of the 10 players who saw action Saturday, four were freshmen.

“We played all D-I schools in scrimmages, so I think we’re ready,” Pemberton said. “I’m happy with what I’ve got, but we’re still progressing. We’ll be better as it goes.”

Jenna O’Hair, Maggie Schenck and Metcalf all had two hits for Madison, and Ally King and Sy Beachler added RBIs. Two Mohawk runners came home on RHS errors.

Metcalf delivered a live ball from the circle. She allowed singles by Maddy Foster, Emily Poling and Ally Ivey.

“I feel confident putting it in her hands all day long,” Pemberton said. “They’ve clocked her at 64, 65, and she’s consistently in the low 60s. She’s got all the pitches. She’s throwing a change, screw, curve, rise, and they’re all moving. I’ve got four years of her. We’re expecting huge things.”

Metcalf, noting that her curve is her go-to pitch, said she’s not feeling any pressure as a freshman.

“I know what I can do. I’m just playing softball,” Metcalf said. “My pitching is really all about spin and power. If you have the right spin, it’s not going to be hit solid, and the more power you have, the more spin you have.”

Kenzie Meyer pitched an eight-hitter and struck out seven for Ross, which is 0-2 under new coach Anna Winters. The Rams opened with a 2-0 loss to Franklin County (Ind.).

“Our bats definitely aren’t where they need to be just yet, but we’re working on it,” Winters said. “The team just needs to stay positive and realize how good they are and how much confidence the coaching staff has in them. I feel like the girls are putting too much pressure on themselves. They just need to go out and have fun and let it happen.”

Not helping the Ross cause is the loss of sophomore shortstop Kaitlyn Justice to a basketball knee injury. She won’t play this season.

The Rams, Division II state semifinalists under Paul Fernandez in 2016, have just two seniors on their roster, though Winters believes she has a talented group of players.

“They’re a great group of girls,” Winters said. “Right now, we’re just trying to get into the groove of things. We haven’t been outside much. Ross always has two goals: Win the (Southwest Ohio Conference) and then win state, and that’s how we’re going to keep it going. The goals are not going to change.

Madison catcher Jackie Kovscek just misses catching a Ross foul ball during Saturday’s game at Ross. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD
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Madison catcher Jackie Kovscek just misses catching a Ross foul ball during Saturday’s game at Ross. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

“It’s definitely been a fun journey for me so far. I’m learning every day. The girls are teaching me a lot, and I’ve got a good coaching staff. I think we’re going to have a good year. We’ve just got to get going in the right direction.”

Pemberton is also a first-year head coach. He was excited to get a signed ball from his players after their season-opening 10-3 win over Hamilton.

“(East coach) Steve Castner taught me a lot,” Pemberton said. “He really gave me a lot to work with. There’s a lot of stuff that I did, but he takes it to a different level.

“Our weight conditioning over here is better than it’s been, and the girls are all buying into being successful. That’s the key.”

Ross will host Harrison on Monday. Madison visits Preble Shawnee on Tuesday.

Madison 003-000-1—4-8-1

Ross 000-100-0—1-3-3

WP – Carly Metcalf (2-0); LP – Kenzie Meyer (0-2). Records: M 2-0, R 0-2

Ross catcher Ally Ivey connects for a single during Saturday’s game against visiting Madison. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD
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Ross catcher Ally Ivey connects for a single during Saturday’s game against visiting Madison. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

Madison shortstop Jenna O’Hair makes the throw to first to get the out on Whitley Arno (15) of Ross during Saturday’s contest at RHS. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD
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Madison shortstop Jenna O’Hair makes the throw to first to get the out on Whitley Arno (15) of Ross during Saturday’s contest at RHS. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

Madison’s Carly Metcalf delivers a pitch during Saturday’s game at Ross. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD
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Madison’s Carly Metcalf delivers a pitch during Saturday’s game at Ross. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

Ross third baseman Whitley Arno throws to first after a sacrifice bunt by Madison’s Ally King on Saturday at Ross. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD
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Ross third baseman Whitley Arno throws to first after a sacrifice bunt by Madison’s Ally King on Saturday at Ross. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

Ross pitcher Kenzie Meyer sends the ball toward the plate Saturday during a game against visiting Madison. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD
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Ross pitcher Kenzie Meyer sends the ball toward the plate Saturday during a game against visiting Madison. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

Madison’s Jenna O’Hair bunts for a single at Ross on Saturday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD
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Madison’s Jenna O’Hair bunts for a single at Ross on Saturday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

Madison third baseman Kenzi Saunders fields a bunt from Lauryn Emenaker of Ross during Saturday’s game in Ross Township. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD
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Madison third baseman Kenzi Saunders fields a bunt from Lauryn Emenaker of Ross during Saturday’s game in Ross Township. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD