STEUBENVILLE - Regardless of the score, Steubenville Catholic Central softball coach Jim DiCarlo is always looking at defense and pitching.
"We're going to have to tighten our defense up a little bit," said DiCarlo. "We have to get better and capitalize on opportunities."
The Crusaders opened the season Monday with a 4-3 victory over visiting Magnolia on Steve Zamana Field.
SAFE AT THIRD — Steubenville Catholic Central’s Rachel Dziewatkoski slides safely into third base as the ball lays on the ground in front of Magnolia third baseman Jordan Grimm during the bottom of the seventh inning Monday.
-- Mike Mathison
Sophomore Kelsey Grandinetti rapped her second single in as many innings to bring home Rachel Dziewatkoski in the bottom of the seventh inning for the Crusaders' 1-0 start on the cold, breezy afternoon.
Central winning pitcher Alex McComb, who fanned 11, started the bottom of the seventh with her second double of the game. Dziewatkoski came in to pinch run and moved to third on Taylor Clark's groundout.
One out later, Grandinetti did her thing.
"This was a good win for us," DiCarlo remarked. "We want to thank everyone who helped get the field ready to play. It was great to get outside and play. Six weeks inside the gym is enough. We still have a lot of little things to go over. But, we will have plenty of time to do so.
"We're a little rusty right now, but we'll be fine."
Magnolia (2-4) scored twice in the top of the seventh when Abby Durig ripped a two-run double for a 3-3 count.
"It was really good to see our girls come back in that inning," said Magnolia boss Mark Batton. "We have a young team and still have a ways to go, but our girls never quit today. They kept making plays and did so against a very good Steubenville Central team.
"Our girls play hard. Our goal is to get better every game. Our girls play with a lot of desire. As long as the effort is there, along with a lot of enthusiasm, what more can you ask of them?"
Central scored in the bottom of the third inning when McComb laced a two-out double to score Maddy Gulan, who reached on a fielders choice.
The Crusaders added one in the fourth when Grandinetti walked, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on Megan Lloyd's single.
Magnolia's Katie Blatt walked with one out in the fifth and came home one out later on Durig's single.
Grandinetti singled in the bottom of the sixth and Fran Capaldi came in to run for her. Capaldi made it to third as Abby Miller reached on an error and she scored on Lloyd's single.
"We knew Magnolia has a nice pitcher (Mallory Chapman) and they are a good team," said DiCarlo. "In this kind of weather you just never know what's going to happen when you field a ball, or swing the bat.
"It was nice to start with a win. We just have to get better each day."
Catholic Central 4, Magnolia 3
Magnolia 000 010 2 - 3 4 4
Catholic Central 001 101 1 - 4 8 2
MAGNOLIA (2-4): Chapman (LP, 5K, 3BB) and Gibb; Moore S; Durig S, D, 3RBI; Chapman S.
CATHOLIC CENTRAL (1-0): McComb (WP, 11K, 5BB) and Clark; Gulan D; McComb 2D, RBI; Daley S; Grandinetti 2S, RBI; Lloyd 2S, RBI.