Plain Dealer: Conrad and Keystone Blank DeSales
LaGRANGE, Ohio — Keystone senior pitcher Kenzie Conrad wasn't bothered that her team was clinging to a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth during Saturday's Prebis Memorial Softball Classic game against Columbus DeSales.
"Of course, I felt comfortable because I knew we were going to get more [runs]," said Conrad, an Akron recruit. "Even if we gave up a run, I knew we'd put something together offensively."
Conrad didn't give up a run, but the Wildcats plated five more runs en route to a 6-0 victory at LaGrange Community Park.
Keystone, ranked No. 1 in the Division II state coaches poll, upped its record to 19-0 with the victory and bagged its 33rd win in its past 34 games.
"We don't want [being unbeaten] to add any pressure," said Conrad. "Instead, we treat it as an honor, and we think it's awesome people just want to come out and beat us."
Conrad (14-0) pitched a two-hitter, giving up harmless singles in the second and sixth innings, while managing to get 16 ground-ball outs along with four strikeouts.
"What I wanted was the low corner, and that's what they were giving me," said Conrad, who didn't walk a batter.
Conrad also accounted for two of her team's nine hits against fifth-ranked DeSales (14-4), a 5-3 loser to Keystone in last season's Division II state semifinals.
Her one-out double to right-center field in the bottom of the fourth inning led to courtesy runner Jenny Schaffer scoring the only run Keystone needed.
The Wildcats' late-inning rally was aided by a bases-loaded triple by Akron recruit Erin Pond; singles by Brittany Bowers, Ashland recruit Bri Buckley and Conrad; walks to Carleigh Herrington and Cleveland State recruit Allison Broschk; and Bee Shaw's sacrifice bunt.
"We kept saying it's a close game now, but that big inning will be coming," said Wildcats coach Jim Piazza. "We knew we'd get a few more runs, sooner or later, as long as we kept making our adjustments."
A nagging rain and colder temperatures canceled the last two rounds of games of the annual showcase, including Keystone's contest against top-ranked and defending Division I state champion North Canton Hoover.
"It's disappointing we didn't get a chance to play Hoover, but we got in some games today nobody thought we'd get in," Piazza said.
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