CAMBRIDGE - Steubenville Catholic Central right fielder Sara Moziejko drove in the only run the Crusaders produced with a second-inning single Thursday against Fort Frye at Cambridge City Park.
It was also the only run they needed as Central pitcher Paige Creamer's strong outing was complimented by a nearly flawless defensive performance behind her en route to a 1-0 victory and the Ohio Division III district crown.
"It really feels good," Central head coach Jim DiCarlo said. "Our kids battled really hard. Paige pitched a great game and we played good defense. I'm really happy for them.
The Steubenville Catholic Central softball team poses with its Ohio Division III District title trophy.
"Making it to the regionals is an unbelievable feeling."
Taylor Clark's one-out single was followed immediately by an Ashlynne Daley blast to center for a double that sent Clark to third. Two batters later, Moziejko laced a ground ball that the diving Cadets' second baseman was unable to bring in for a single and the 1-0 Central lead.
"They battle and battle and sometimes you get a break," said DiCarlo. "It was going to be really hard getting a run off of her (Fort Frye pitcher Victoria Mimken) and Ashlynne got a big hit and Sara got a couple nice hits for us including the big one that knocked the run in."
Added Moziejko of her big hit, "It felt really good because all week we were practicing hitting outside pitches and that's my worst pitch.
"I felt like there was no way I was hitting this game and when I did I was really excited."
That was enough for Creamer, who while only striking out one batter forced the Cadets to ground out 13 times and scattered just three singles over seven innings. Fort Frye only had one runner past first base.
Allee Vandeborne had a strong day in the field. The Crusaders' second baseman was involved in the third out of six of seven innings including snagging a line drive for an out and throwing to first to catch a base runner off for a double play to end the sixth.
"It was a hard infield and I thought we did a really nice job making some plays we needed to make in the game," said DiCarlo. "I'm just proud of our kids."
Creamer stayed consistent from start to finish and when Fort Frye stepped to the plate in the top of the seventh she calmly put them down in order.
"You always feel the pressure, but you can't really think about it," said Creamer. "You can't think about the next batter, or what if this happens, or what if that happens.
"It's only I'm throwing the ball, I have to hit my spot, and good things are going to happen if I do that."
Daley made a nice play on a hard-hit grounder to third for the first out and the second came on a ground out back to Creamer. The game's final out came when Fort Frye's Natalie Sluth hit a shot to left that looked to have a chance to drop, but left fielder Maddie Gulan charged, dove, and made a highlight reel catch to secure the 1-0 district final victory.
"To shut this team out is amazing," said DiCarlo. "We knew we weren't getting that many runs. I told them it was going to be a low-scoring game.
"I didn't know it would be this low-scoring."
The Crusaders travel to Lancaster High School Thursday at 5 p.m. to take on the winner of Saturday's game between Lucasville Valley and Chillicothe Zane Trace.
"I had a heart cath Friday after the St. Clairsville game," said DiCarlo. "I was under the weather there. Bill Davis and Craig Creamer did a great job of coming up to scout.
"I'd like to thank all our coaches but also Mindy Nash for throwing batting practice."
Catholic Central 1, Fort Frye 0
Fort Frye 000 000 0 - 0 3 0
Catholic Central 010 000 x - 1 4 1
FORT FRYE: Mimken (LP, 9K, 1BB) and Miller. Vaughn 2s; Adkins s.
CATHOLIC CENTRAL: Creamer (WP, 1K, 1BB) and Taylor. Clark s, r; Daley d; Moziejko 2s, rbi.