TRI-COUNTY SOFTBALL United stays close to league lead

The Eagles defeated Crestview 9-1. A showdown with Columbiana looms.
COLUMBIANA -- Using seven Crestview errors to its advantage, the United High softball team kept within striking distance of the Tri-County League lead with a 9-1 victory Thursday.
A five-run second inning was really all the Eagles (12-3, 10-1 TCL) needed to stay close to league-leader Columbiana. United plays East Palestine and Sebring, then has a showdown with the Clippers April 30.
United scored its five runs and batted around the lineup, parlaying three hits and two costly Rebel mistakes into the big inning.
"We just made some bad mistakes," said Crestview coach Clarence Sicklesmith, "and that's all it took. I still think we're a pretty good team. We've just had a lot of bad breaks go against us."
Not only did the breaks not go their way, but Crestview was facing Michelle Foster, the Eagles' ace who explained that she likes to concentrate on keeping her mind blank.
"I really don't keep track of the score and I didn't know we were up 5-0," said Foster (11-3).
Abel key in two rallies
Following the second-inning rally, United added a pair of runs in the third and two more in the fifth to put the game away. Monica Abel played a part in each rally, coming up with three singles, three runs scored and a stolen base.
"I was extremely happy with everyone," said United mentor Janet Sheets. "It seemed like they all got the job done when they had to. Plus, after we got that big lead, I think we were able to relax a little bit."
Crestview (7-7, 5-5) scored its lone run in the third when Lisa Workman doubled home Cinda Unkefer, who had also doubled. The Rebels managed just four hits against Foster.
For United, Megan McCartney had a single and two RBIs, while teammate Krista Reeder had her team's only extra base hit, a first-inning triple.