CLINTON — Wednesday’s softball game between Prince of Peace and North Cedar proved one thing — the battle for the Big East Conference title will be a dogfight.

North Cedar posted a 4-2 win over the Irish at the field at Gil’s Ballroom, meaning there are no longer any teams with unblemished league records.

Those two are now tied for first with 4-1 marks, while several teams are right behind with two losses.

“Overall, everything was just a little sluggish for us tonight,” said Prince of Peace coach Troy Dodd. “But I’m not going to take anything away from North Cedar — they played a great game. I think what tonight shows is we have to come ready to play every game. If you look at the conference standings, you can see anybody can beat anybody else depending on the night.”

Prince of Peace managed two runs on two hits in the first inning, but got just three hits off winning pitcher Mallory Gritton the rest of the way.

Gritton finished with three strikeouts.

“She pitched well and seemed to get stronger as the game went on,” said Dodd of Gritton. “Part of that might have been the confidence of pitching with the lead. When you’re losing it’s tough to get that confidence going.”

North Cedar grabbed the early lead in the top of the first when Gritton singled to right, was sacrificed to second by Steph Russell and crossed the plate when Lauren Schroeder lined a single to center.

But the Irish came back strong in the bottom half of the inning.

With one out, Emma Nelson ripped a double over the left fielder’s head.

She went to third on Colleen Ryan’s grounder and scored when the throw in an attempt to get Ryan was dropped by the first baseman.

Ryan moved to third when Katie Flood belted a double over the center fielder’s head and scored on a wild pitch, putting the hosts ahead 2-1.

North Cedar took the lead for good in the third.

Gritton led off with a walk, moved to second on Russell’s bunt single, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Schroeder’s groundout to short.

Jamie Fisher followed with another groundout to score Russell.

The Irish threatened in the fourth when Lauren Ryan doubled to the fence in center field with one out and Rachel Ryan walked.

However, a forceout and groundout ended the chance of scoring.

Lauren Ryan, who struck out two batters during the game, began gaining some momentum in the middle innings by setting down eight straight North Cedar batters. That ended when Russell reached on an error with two out in the fifth.

Russell promptly stole second and crossed the plate on Schroeder’s double to right.

Schroeder was thrown out trying to advance to third to get the Irish out of the inning.

Prince of Peace had one last gasp in the seventh.

Emily Dodd walked to lead things off and Brooke Craig grounded to Russell at second base.

Russell fielded the ball and attempted to tag Dodd, but missed to put runners at first and second.

However, both Dodd and Craig were eventually forced out at third before a groundout ended the contest.

“We just didn’t put our hits together,” said coach Dodd. “North Cedar did a good job of finding the holes and we didn’t. Now we need to focus on our game with Lisbon and see what kind of a team we really are.”

Score by Innings

North Cedar 102 010 0 —4 7 1

Prince of Peace 200 000 0 —2 5 1

Mallory Gritton and Jess Edler. Lauren Ryan and Alyssa Kenney.

Two or more hits—North Cedar, Lauren Schroeder, Amanda Martin. 2B—North Cedar, Schroeder, Martin; Prince of Peace, Emma Nelson, Katie Flood, Ryan. RBI—North Cedar, Schroeder 3, Jamie Fisher.

Records—North Cedar 8-6, 4-1 Big East Conference; Prince of Peace 10-4, 4-1. Next game—Prince of Peace at Lisbon, Thursday.

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