Kayleen Jurski whirled her right arm around and hurled a softball late Monday afternoon for the first pitch ever on the Perrysburg High School campus.
The junior pitcher threw all seven innings for the Perrysburg girls varsity softball team at its new field. In the end, the team lost to Columbus St. Francis DeSales, 10-1.
Before this season Perrysburg had played its baseball and softball games at Perrysburg Junior High on East South Boundary Street. Both teams got new diamonds this year at the high school on Roachton Road, a project that cost an estimated $922,000.
"It was nice to get out here, it was a little chilly but wanted to see what we had," Ryan DeMars said, Perrysburg head coach of the new field. "We invited Columbus DeSales up here because we know they are a great program."
PHOTO GALLERY: Perrysburg Holds Inaugural Game on New Field
DeSales head coach, Julie Barber, won a state title while coaching at St. Ursula High School in 2004.
"We knew she was going to bring up a team that was going to challenge us," Mr. DeMars said. "We played with them all the way into the seventh inning."
It was a closely-played 2-0 game with each team having three hits a piece until DeSales had six hits, a walk, and two Perrysburg errors in an eight-run final inning.
There was a scary moment in the game when DeSales third baseman Anna Gentile had a line drive deflected off her head and into the outfield in the fourth inning. She remained in the game and had a hit which turned into a run scored earlier in the game.
Perrysburg had a few chances to score while the game was close. The young Jurski fouled off three consecutive pitches with the tying runner on second and two outs in the fourth before she struck out. Freshman right fielder Deanna Granata led off the fifth inning with a double but was stranded.
Junior Mallory Creps broke the shutout with a single in the bottom of the seventh inning.
"We are a young team, we graduated seven seniors last year so we are trying to figure each other out," said Katie Dunphy, Perrysburg's senior leadoff hitter and shortstop. "It is a non-league game so hopefully we get a win Thursday and end the week on a good note."
Residents helped pay for the fields through a permanent improvement levy approved by voters in November, 2010; private donations also paid for a portion of the project, which includes new dugouts and a new scoreboard.
The young Dunphy still said it was nice to play at the new field mostly because it is actually at the high school, and it is quieter since it is not next to I-75. She did say the girls need to get used to the brick backstop and how the ball bounces off it.
"It is definitely an advantage mostly for the girls. They are not rushed to drive over to the field, fight traffic in the parking lot to get here, it is an easier set up," Mr. DeMars said.
Perrysburg starts the season 0-1 and plays Thursday at 5 p.m. against Clay High School.
"[The field] gives the girls something to be proud of and that extra boost," Mr. DeMars said. "The girls like it, and it is a good atmosphere."
Contact Matt Thompson at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-356-8786 or on Twitter at @mthompson25.