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John Marshall too much for Brooke to handle

CONNECTING — Brooke’s Carli Julio connect on a pitch against John Marshall on Wednesday. (Photo by Josh Strope)

WELLSBURG — It has been an up and down season for the John Marshall softball team.

Wednesday was definitely one of those positive moments.

John Marshall pounded out 14 hits, Ryliegh Morgan didn’t give up a hit and the Monarchs rolled to a key 12-1 romp over sectional and OVAC rival Brooke.

“We have been up and down, but that is because we are young and we have some growing up to do still,” John Marshall coach Ed West said. “We are getting better. If we just eliminate some of the mistakes, we will be right back in there. We play Parkersburg again, Wheeling Park again. We have some big games left.”

For the Monarchs, this was a nice way to bounce back after Tuesday’s lopsided loss to Parkersburg. Making it even sweeter is that it likely puts the Monarchs in the driver’s seat when it comes it to not only claiming a first-round bye in the sectional, but also making the OVAC Class 5A tournament.

John Marshall (9-6) welcomes Wheeling Park on Monday, with the winner earning the No. 1 seed in the sectional tournament. The Monarchs also opened the week on the outside looking in on the OVAC tournament chase, trailing Brooke (8-7) by a slim margin.

“I knew this would be a big game,” West said. “I am disappointed Brooke didn’t have their best pitcher (Rachel Kazmirski), but that is part of it, too. When someone is out, you have to go to your next best. This was a good win for us both OVAC-wise and sectional-wise.”

John Marshall broke out the bats early and often. It plated two runs in the first inning, both coming with two outs on hits by Joey Mangino and Morgan.

John Marshall did most of its damage in the second, scoring seven runs in the frame. Anna Blake supplied the big hit, a monster two-run home run that made it 6-0.

Morgan and Lydia Knutsen doubled in runs. Taylor Gray beat out a bunt for a single that scored a run, while Kameron Skrzyneki doubled in two, as the Monarchs held a commanding nine-run lead.

“We have been off and on with production with runners on,” West said. “(Wednesday) we were able to get a couple good hits with the runners on.”

Despite being no-hit, Brooke was able to get a run across in the bottom of the third thanks to walks, an error and passed balls.

The Bruins switched pitchers in the third, but that did little to stop the bleeding. John Marshall pushed three more across the plate — Gray, Blake and Mack Hall providing the run-scoring knocks — to invoke the mercy rule.

“We know John Marshall is a great hitting team,” Brooke coach Jim DiCarlo said. “I thought we had some chances, but we hit the ball right at them. If we would could have gotten some to squeeze through and give us life, it might have been a little different, but they are a tough team to hold down. They are solid 1-9.

“You always want to win the sectional games and get a chance at the OVAC, but injuries are hurting us a little bit at this time of the year. No one is going to feel sorry for us, so we have to do the best we can and plug away until we get healthy. Give John Marshall all the credit.”

John Marshall 12, Brooke 1

J. Marshall 2-7-3 — 12-14-2

Brooke 0-1-0 — 1-0-3

JOHN MARSHALL: Morgan wp (2K, 6BB) and Mangino. Knutsen 2D, rbi; Gray 3S, 2rbi; An.Blake D, HR, 3rbi; Mangino S, rbi; Hall D, rbi; Morgan S, D, 2rbi; Skrzyneki D, 2rbi.

BROOKE: Miche lp (2K, 1BB), Birmingham (3)(0K, 0BB) and Veltri.

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