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CUYAHOGA FALLS -- With the postseason looming for both teams, Cuyahoga Falls and Stow-Munroe Falls softball each were looking to pick up some momentum against their arch rival.
In the end, Stow got a pick-me-up from its youngest player, while Falls' frustration against the Bulldogs continued.
Stow scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to set up a 6-3 win over Falls May 3 at Harrington Field.
Combined with a 4-1 loss at Brecksville-Broadview Heights May 2, Stow's record stood at 7-10, 5-8 in the Suburban League National Conference as of press time.
Falls fell to 4-13, 0-12 in the National Conference as of press time.
Falls and Stow won't have to wait long to see each other again. At the Division I Barberton district draw April 30, Stow was given the No. 7 seed and Falls was seeded No. 10.
That means Falls will open the playoffs vs. Stow at Weddle Park May 9 at 4:30 p.m.
The winner of that game will travel to second-seeded Wadsworth May 10 at 4:30 p.m. for a sectional final game.
On May 3, as he has done several times this season, Stow coach Doug Hawkins chose to switch pitchers in the middle of the game.
After 3.33 innings from starter Clara Borsilli, Hawkins called on freshman Katie Kelly and Kelly (1-1) pitched 3.67 inning of shutout relief to pick up her first varsity win.
"Our pitching was pretty good today from both girls," Hawkins said. "They started to hit [Borsilli] pretty hard, so we decided to switch things up. Kelly has good velocity and did a good job changing up speeds."
Falls coach Kim Applegarth noted Black Tigers' starting pitcher Hailey Miles (1-6) also had a good start, but was done in by Falls's defense. Miles pitched a complete game, giving up six runs off nine hits, but only one run was earned.
"Hailey pitched an excellent game," Applegarth said. "She did her job in the circle. We did not do our job in the field behind her."
Stow opened the game with a double by center fielder Claire O'Verko past third base. O'Verko stole third and came home on an RBI single from catcher Gillian Holcomb.
Holcomb would score on a throwing error to make it 2-0.
Stow's defense committed three errors in game and helped contribute to Falls' rally in the bottom of the third inning.
With two outs, the Black Tigers did all of their damage. A single by shortstop Brianna Andexler was followed by an infield singe from second baseman Courtney Hasenstab.
Center fielder Kyia Saxon then grounded to the mound, but a throwing error allowed Andexler to score.
Falls' designated player Alex Eves then came within about three feet of a home run. She belted a double halfway up the fence in left field, making it 3-2 Falls after three innings.
"The bats we started off the season swinging well and scoring runs," Applegarth said. "We went through a lull and now their starting to come back again."
Stow tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the fourth inning when Holcomb drew a bases-loaded walk. However, Hawkins was looking for more, as the Bulldogs had loaded the bases with no out.
"We kind of went to sleep at the plate for a couple of innings," Hawkins said. "We were able to wake up late."
After Borsilli gave up a single in the bottom of the fourth, Kelly was brought in. After hitting Falls' Annah Bobbitt with a pitch, Kelly would retire nine straight batters.
Miles also seemed to get stronger as the game went on, retiring nine straight Bulldogs herself.
With two outs in the top of the seventh inning, however, an error allowed Stow shortstop Brittany Hoopingarner on. Stow took advantage with back-to-back RBI doubles from third baseman Hanna Ingram and second baseman Jenna Stout.
Stow then got an RBI single from designated player Kenni Cesnak to make it 6-3.
Andexler drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh and Hasenstab reached on an error, but Andexler was thrown out at third base. Kelly then struck out Saxon to end the game.
"We told them we get one more shot at them," Applegarth said. "We'll be ready."
Falls was set to play North Royalton May 4 and a doubleheader with Akron North May 5, but results were not available at press time.
Along with the playoff game, Falls is scheduled to host Twinsburg May 8 before traveling to Kent Roosevelt May 10 and hosting Copley May 11. First pitch for all games is at 4:30 p.m.