By Dave Ricci
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Ashley Campanella is just hoping to make the most of her playing time.
She did just that on Thursday afternoon, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs to set the offensive tone as Kenmore West scored a 9-2 win over Kenmore East in NFL softball action.
The Blue Devils (3-0) remained unbeaten in league play as they fired first salvo in the spring edition of the Battle of Kenmore.
Campanella, batting in the ninth spot, drove a tricky infield single up the middle that the Bulldogs’ defense was unable to get a handle on, allowing Leah Moretta and Marylouise Lindner to score.
“It feels good because I really need to prove myself because I’m battling for (starting) positions with other people,” Campanella said. “This game was great and it was also good to beat our rivals.”
A returning senior who is trying to secure a regular spot in the starting lineup, Campanella made a great case for herself to earn more starts as she hit two singles and drew a walk.
Ken East (0-2) drew first blood when Chelsea Masich stroked a hard single to right field to score Gabbie Johns for the 1-0 lead.
The middle innings proved to be the most troublesome for the Bulldogs as Ken West batted through the order in both the fourth and fifth frames, scoring a total of eight runs on seven hits and six walks.
The fifth was the most damaging, as the Blue Devils plated all five runs with two outs.
While the Bulldogs do have some youth in the ranks coach Sara Ark noted that all but two of her starters had varsity experience last year. The difficulties were caused by the simple fact they were unable to execute when needed.
“There’s no excuse why we can’t execute when we have to,” Ark said. “The only explanation is that we weren’t ready to handle that pressure yet. So hopefully, as we play more games and have more experience, we can gain confidence and be able to execute plays when we have to.”
Senior Shelby Donhauser (3-for-4/two RBI) was solid in the pitching circle once again for West as she struck out 12 Bulldogs in a complete game effort. Issuing just one free pass, Donhauser scattered four hits over seven frames and received timely defensive support all day.
The biggest catch of the game came courtesy of center fielder Bridget Gormley (1-for-2/three walks).
Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth with two outs and runners at third and first, Masich drove a sharp line drive to the gap in center and right field. Gormley raced from center field and made the diving catch to end the Bulldogs’ rally.
“If it would have dropped it would have been a tie game,” Gormley said. “Just go hard. You have to do what you have to do to get a win. This team this year is the best of my three years on varsity, so I’m just trying to do whatever I can to win.”
Lindner (3-for-4) and Adrianna King both scored two runs for the Blue Devils. West collected 11 walks with the top of the order drawing six of those free passes. Jess Hyland (stolen base) had East’s second run.INSIDE For the complete High School Roundup turn to PAGE B2.