FREDERICK — It had the feel of a late October playoff matchup on August 22.
Erie and Frederick started their season on Tuesday night with a high-stakes Tri-Valley League opener that had its fair share of mental mistakes that naturally come with the first game of the season.
Unfortunately for Frederick, a majority of those miscues were on the Warriors side and it lead to six unearned Tigers runs that ultimately proved to be the difference in an 11-5 Erie victory.
"You never know what to expect, it's the first game of the year and you are replacing one of the all-time greats (Rio Sanchez) in the circle and I thought (Maddie) Leach did a nice job of and competing and gave us a chance to win," Erie coach Harold Simmons said. "And we put up enough offense."
After a 3-2 first inning that had Erie on top, the game had all the makings of an offensive explosion. It continued for the Tigers.
In the second Frederick pitcher Makenna Goodard walked Katie Huodner and then gave up a single to right from nine-hole hitter Morgan Weber. The Warriors, who committed two first inning errors on one play that allowed two Tigers runs, had their defense let them down again. An error led to the Tigers fourth run.
The lead grew to 5-2 when Tigers cleanup hitter Kara Kovets delivered the biggest blow of the game. She belted a 3-2 Goodard offering over the 210 foot sign in dead center field.
"The first one I learned and I got weight on it," said Kovets, who scored three times. "I let it get in my zone, trusted my hands and let it fly."
After a shaky start in the circle, Leach was steady the rest of the way only giving up a couple of hard hit ball the rest of the way and three runs.
Goodard was pulled in the third — an inning she started to command her pitches — in favor of Kaitlyn Reagin. Reagin combined with Maddie McCullough, who came in the seventh inning, and gave fill-in coach Ted Clapp and the rest of the Warriors reason to feel just fine moving forward.
"That was a big game and a great team and, yeah, we made our fair of mistake defensively," said Clapp, who assumed the duties for head coach Roger Dufour on opening day. "We clean that up and we compete with anybody.
"Our pitchers did an excellent job, which is something we are really proud of. They stepped up and hit spots and did exactly what we expected them to do."
Both teams will be back at it on Thursday. Erie will host Windsor in its home opener and Frederick will travel to Skyline.
ERIE 11, FREDERICK 5
Erie (1-0, 1-0)340 100 3 — 11 11 0
Frederick (0-1, 0-1)201 100 1 — 5 11 5
W — Leach (1-0). L — Goodard (0-1).
Erie hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Capra 4-0-1-0, Phillips 4-1-1-0, Hackney 2-3-1-1, Kovets 2-3-1-2, Sackett 4-2-3-1, Leach 3-0-1-2, Brand 0-0-0-0, Quijas 4-0-2-0, Huodner 2-1-0-1, Weber 3-1-1-0, Armstrong 1-0-0-0. Totals 29-11-11-7.
Frederick hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — B. Massey 4-1-3-0, M. Massey 4-1-1-1, Gale 3-2-1-0, McCullough 4-0-2-1, Hernandez 3-0-2-1, Howell 0-0-0-0, Jamillo 0-0-0-0, Goodard 3-0-1-2, Horner 0-0-0-0, Reagin 2-0-0-0, Pultallez 1-0-0-0, Teller 1-0-0-0, A. Dufour 2-0-0-0, Garcia 2-0-0-0, T. Dufour 3-1-1-0. Totals 32-5-11-5.
Erie pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Goodard 7-11-5-5-3-5.
Frederick pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Goodard 2.1-8-7-3-2-0, Reagin 3.1-2-4-2-2-1, McCullough 1-1-0-0-0-0.