Rebels can’t dig out of early hole

The fifth-seeded Crestview Rebels have relied on pitching and defense to carry them all season. In their sectional tournament game with the eighth-seeded Newton Falls Tigers on Thursday, the hot-hitting Tigers exploded for a convincing 7-1 victory.

The Tigers improve to 18-8 on the season, and advance to face Rootstown on Tuesday in a Division III district semifinal. The Rebels fall to 13-9 on the year.

“They are a great team. They are a great hitting team,” Rebels coach Greg Eskra said. “We played them last Monday and we won 1-0. No errors on either side. I told them tonight that you have to play error free. You can’t give them four or five outs, especially a team like them that hits the ball.”

The Tigers came out on fire in the top of the first with four consecutive hits. The big blow being a three-run home run off the bat of second-baseman Emily Knight. Her towering shot over the left-field fence staked the Tigers to a 4-0 lead.

“I thought it was huge. It got us off to a nice start and gave us a bit of confidence to go through the game. The pitch was right down the middle and I knew I had runners on base so I knew I had to drive them in somehow. It hit the perfect spot on the bat so I knew it was gone,” Knight said her blast out of the park.