MARTINS FERRY - There's a cliche that says, "hitting is contagious.
That proved to be true again for Martins Ferry's softball team, which caught the hitting fever on a chilly and damp Monday afternoon against Steubenville.
The Lady Riders pounded out 15 hits and posted a mercy-rule shortened 13-3 victory in six innings aganst Big Red, avenging a loss from Friday.
"This is the best I've seen us hit the ball," said Ferry head coach Paige Williams. "(The hitting) has been coming from all over the order, too."
Martins Ferry (6-3) jumped out to a 5-0 lead on Big Red in the first three innings. That proved to be plenty for sophomore ace pitcher Shaye DeLeonardis, who sat down the first 10 Steubenville hitters she faced.
DeLeonardis was the beneficiary of solid glove work in those frames. She had just one strikeout in the game. Center fielder Brooklyn Monroe came up with several solid defensive plays on hard-hit Steubenville at-bats.
"Shaye has the confidence that her teammates are going to field the ball and make the plays needed behind her," Williams said. "She always throws a lot better when they do. Shaye's been very consistent and she's thrown a lot of pitches here in the last week."
Steubenville head coach Gus DiMarzio, who watched his team fall for just the second time in 12 games, could do nothing but tip his cap to Martins Ferry.
"We hit the ball hard right at them," DiMarzio said. "As a coach, if you stand there and watch the game, and you're not hitting the ball or hitting little dribblers, you'd be mad. But, how can you complain when you're hitting shots like that? They made the plays, and that's the game."
Big Red got a rally going in the fourth. Senior Mytia Barker delivered the big hit with a two-run home run.
However, Steubenville's momentum was short-lived.
Martins Ferry answered with a six-spot in the home half of the frame. Steubenville got the first two hitters of the inning to ground out without much issue.
"It's always good to know you can rally on two," Williams said. "The order came alive. I saw us rally in the bottom of the seventh to win on Saturday and then to rally with two outs today, you can't complain about those things."
The Lady Riders then broke out the lumber. Hard-hitting sophomore Tyrah King had a RBI double, talented freshman Mercedes McLeod had a RBI single. Katie Webb had a RBI base hit and Krissy Hotlosz drove in two runs with a single.
Webb had a RBI single and Katie Sutherland drove in runs in the sixth to end the game.
McLeod finished with four hits and King added three. Combined, they drove in five and scored four runs.
Webb finished with three singles and a like number of RBI. DeLeonardis had a RBI in the first inning to help her cause.
Martins Ferry 13, Steubenville 3
Steubenville 000 300 - 3 3 2
Martins Ferry 203 602 - 13 15 1
STEUBENVILLE: Stamps (LP, 1K, 3W) and M. Barker; M. Barker HR, 2RBI.
MARTINS FERRY: DeLeonardis (WP, 1K, 2W) and Hotlosz; McLeod 4S, 3RBI; King D, 2S, 2RBI; Webb 3S, 3RBI; Hotlosz S, 2RBI; Sutherland S, RBI; DeLeonardis S, RBI.