COLUMBIANA - Crestview sophomore Lindsey Balmenti stepped into the batter's box in the top of the fourth inning with her team trailing Columbiana 2-1 and was expecting a change-up.
Instead, she got a fastball.
It didn't matter, as Balmenti connected on a three-run home run to ignite a nine-run fourth inning to propel the Rebels to a 12-4 victory in Tuesday's season opener.
"That made my day, I was running and I was like 'Oh it's over the fence,' I thought I was going to cry," Balmenti said. "It helped us out a lot and I'm glad, it got our team fired up."
In total, 13 Rebels came to the plate in the marathon inning that blew the game open.
"I'm glad that we came out here and beat them," Belmenti said. "It sends every team a message that we are going to come out here and dominate."
Balmenti finished the day going 1-for-3 with three RBIs. Her effort at the plate in the fourth buoyed her effort on the mound, as Balmenti's long ball came while she was working in relief of starter Sydney Davis. Balmenti worked 1 2/3 innings on the mound, surrendering one hit with one strikeout and two walks to earn the win for the Rebels.
Davis started the game and pitched 2 1/3 innings before Balmenti came on in relief. Davis returned to the mound in the fifth and finished out the game.
"That was just to change things up, we talked to the pitchers in different groups and it's just something we can do to change things up," Crestview coach Clarence Sickelsmith said. "We have a nice pitching crew here that I think we will hopefully surprise a lot of teams with."
Dakota DeAmicis took the loss for the Clippers, going the distance and surrendering six earned runs on 10 hits.
"We had the same pitcher against most of the same players," Columbiana coach Jerry Beltempo said. "It's disappointing."
DeAmicis did not benefit from help behind her either, as the Clippers committed nine errors.
"We didn't play tonight like we scrimmaged, we scrimmaged three quality teams," Beltempo said. "We scrimmaged Boardman, we scrimmaged Tallmadge, we scrimmaged Jackson Milton and played with them all."
Madison Macklin went 1-for-3 with a single and an RBI. Madison Roessler went 1-for-2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch.
Alexys Brooks went 3-for-3 with an RBI. Anna Hardenbrook added a pair of singles and scored a run. Hardenbrook and Sarah Koehler led off the fourth by getting on base to set the table for Balmenti's momentum changing homer.
"You've got to have a team setter, if someone starts something it just seems like everyone will follow," Sickelsmith said. "I didn't think she was going to take the ball out of the park but she hit the ball well, kept focused on it and drove it hard. As a coach, you want to see that."
Columbiana will host Wellsville at 5 p.m. today, while the Crestview hosts Lisbon.
COL: 1-0-1-2-0-0-0- 4- 3- 9
CR-Sydney Davis (5 1/3IP 2K, 3BB, 2H), Lindsey Balmenti (1 2/3IP 1K, 2BB, 1H) and Alexys Brooks.
COL-Dakota DeAmicis (7 IP, 6ER, 6K, 0BB, 10 H) and Khylea Fullum.