McConnell, Christoff power Wildcats to Div. III district final Thursday evening
CONNORVILLE — Tommi McConnell and Hannah Christoff proved to be a deadly combination for the Edison Wildcats Tuesday afternoon.
McConnell tossed a sharp two-hitter while Christoff went 4-for-4, including two home runs, as the Wildcats eliminated Barnesville, 9-0, in a Division III District semifinal contest.
Coach Spencer Bendle’s group improved to 20-8 on the campaign and advances to the district championship game Thursday against Buckeye Trail at a site to be determined. The Warriors eliminated Garaway, 6-3.
McConnell fanned four and walked two in going the distance. The talented senior aided her cause with a three-run double in the fourth inning.
“Tommi wasn’t as sharp as she usually is. She was off a little bit for whatever reason but still pitched a fine game. She is a battler,” Bendle said. “I thought the key to the game was our defense. We caught two Barnesville girls stealing early and that set the tone.
“It gave us momentum and enabled us to score first. Our defense was really solid tonight,” added Edison’s 20-year mentor. “Hannah had a real nice game at the plate. She is only a freshman. When she figures it out she can really be something special.”
Edison took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on two singles and a Shamrock error. The Wildcats made it 2-0 an inning later on a Christoff RBI single.
The winners opened up some breathing room in the fourth on McConnell’s three-run double. The Wildcats used Christoff home runs in the fifth and sixth frames to win going away.
The Wildcats produced 13 hits on the day.
Regan Hanlon started in the circle for Barnesville. She worked into the fourth before yielding the ball to Madison Detling. The sophomore tandem combined for one strikeout and three walks.
“We wanted to be aggressive early but we couldn’t get anything going,” Barnesville coach Leslie Skinner said. “We didn’t get that little hit to spark us. We knew Edison is a good team and we kept within striking distance for 3-4 innings before it got away from us.
“Their pitcher did a nice job. We hit the ball well at times but right at them,” she added. “The ball rolled their way today. But our kids never quit battling.”
Abby Starr ripped a double for the Shamrocks while Astin Skinner delivered a single for the 20-8 Shamrocks.
“I had seven seniors on this team. They were a great bunch. You hate to see the season end,” Skinner said. “Our girls worked hard and did everything we asked of them. They played a lot of ball.
“It was a wonderful season. It was the first time we made the OVAC Tournament since 2011,” she added. “We can’t find the last time this program won 20 games. I am very proud of these girls and all they did this season. It really was a wonderful year.”
Edison 9, Barnesville 0
Barnesville 0-0-0 0-0-0 0 — 0 2 3
Edison 0-1-1 3-1-3 x — 9 13 0
BARNESVILLE: Hanlon (0K, 3BB), Detling (4) (1K, 0BB) and McMillen. Starr, D; Skinner, S.
EDISON: McConnell (4K, 2BB) and McElroy. Cristoff, 2 HR, 2S, 4RBI; McConnell, D, 3RBI; Petrisko 3S; Ferrell, 3S.