If pitching truly is the key toward earning a championship, then the Johnstown-Monroe High School softball team appears to be in good hands -- and arms.

If pitching truly is the key toward earning a championship, then the Johnstown-Monroe High School softball team appears to be in good hands -- and arms.

Brenna Hosey, Delaney Childers and Amber Young, all juniors, were key as the Johnnies opened 11-5 overall and first at 7-1 in the MBC.

Young led the team with a 6-0 record and a 1.27 ERA. She pitched a no-hitter in a 6-0 win over Centerburg on April 8 and a perfect game during a 10-0 win over East Knox last Monday.

"It's really exciting," Young said. "My main goal for every game is to do my best. It's really exciting to do that and have a really good defense to help you do that."

"Right now her greatest attribute is that she allows her defense to work behind her," coach Don Harvey said of Young. "She has great movement on her ball and she has done a great job of keeping her head in the game and not letting things out of her control bother her."

Young's performance in the circle during a 7-4 win last Tuesday over Utica gave the Johnnies sole possession of first in the league. They are one game ahead of the Redskins and Danville and Loudonville.

"We want to win the MBC," she said. "That, along with advancing out of the (Division III) district tournament, are two goals we want to accomplish."

Childers has had spells of brilliance within the circle. She opened 4-3 with an ERA of less than 2.000 and had 72 strikeouts.

Childers still is looking to craft a perfect game like her teammate, but she has thrown a no-hitter during the team's first game, a 10-0 win over Newark Catholic.

Hosey hasn't seen much action as her counterparts, pitching just 12 innings and registering one win.

"We are lucky to have three pitchers available to call on at any given moment," Harvey said. "Most teams live and die on one pitcher and we have the luxury of switching up whenever we feel the need. They are all pretty equal. We like to say we have a 1A, 1B and 1C pitching staff, and on a given day each of those girls could fill any of the slots."

Some pitchers may take offense to having to share the load, but the Johnstown trio sees it as a blessing which makes their games better.

"I love it because when one of us is having troubles the other can pick us up," Childers said. "We're never left out there stranded. It's nice having that back up."

"I don't get upset no matter who's on the mound," Young said. "Our coaches are very smart and I know they made the best choice and our team."

"The name of the game in softball is pitching, which is why you see so many teams play small ball," Harvey said. "Small ball is bunting, slapping, stealing, moving runners when you can and hoping to create just one run because that may win you a game."

Johnstown second baseman Hanna Davis tosses the ball to Chelsea Cannon last Tuesday to record the out at first base during their MBC game against Utica.

Coach Don Harvey talks with his team following the Johnnies' 7-4 victory over Utica.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Johnstown and Northridge softball teams:

JOHNSTOWN

*April 14 -- Defeated Danville 7-6

*April 15 -- Def. Fredericktown 6-3

*April 18 -- Def. Loudonville 6-4

April 19 -- Def. Heath 11-1 and lost to Liberty Union 1-0

*Last Monday -- Def. East Knox 10-0

*Last Tuesday -- Def. Utica 7-4

*Last Friday -- Played at Centerburg

Last Saturday -- Played Watkins Memorial and Mount Vernon

*Monday -- Home vs. Northridge

*Tuesday -- at Danville

*Friday -- Home vs. Fredericktown

Saturday -- at Hilliard Davidson and Canal Winchester

Of note: The Johnnies were 11-5 overall and 7-1 in the MBC before last Friday.

NORTRIDGE

April 14 -- Lost to East Knox 8-7

*April 15 -- Lost to Utica 12-1

April 17 -- Def. Worthington Christian 13-0

*April 18 -- Def. Centerburg 14-2

April 19 -- Lost to West Muskingum 13-0 and defeated West Muskingum 5-4

*Last Monday -- Lost to Loudonville 6-3

*Last Tuesday -- Played Danville

Last Thursday -- Played Bexley

*Last Friday -- Played Fredericktown

Last Saturday -- Played Licking Heights (doubleheader)

Of note: The Vikings were 9-7 overall and 2-5 in the MBC before last Friday.

*MBC game