NORTON — Syd Sherry made a mess on the softball diamond Tuesday, but she sure did clean it up.
After her two errors at third base paved the way for three unearned runs, the Brunswick sophomore moved to the circle and completely shut down Cloverleaf, allowing the Blue Devils to pull back away for a 7-3 victory in Barberton Division I District semifinal action.
Fifth-seeded Brunswick (16-11) will play top-seeded Medina (21-7) for a district title today at 4:30 p.m. at the Barberton Sports Complex. Sixth-seeded Cloverleaf finished the season 14-16.
“It was one of those rough days,” a smiling Sherry said of her defense, which included another error while she was pitching. “I wasn’t mentally there.”
Fortunately for the Blue Devils, the right-hander was physically dominant in the circle. She went 4⅔ innings in relief of Kelly McLaughlin, allowing two hits, no runs and no walks while striking out four.
“Usually, she’s pretty good at third base,” Brunswick coach Julie Salzman said. “We have no fear of moving Bri (Bentler) from third to first, putting Syd at third and pitching Kelly, because we think our defense is just as good. Then she goes out there and blunders two.”
Having scored twice in the top of the first and adding two more runs with a two-out rally in the second, the Blue Devils were up 4-0 and cruising heading into the bottom of the third.
Sherry started that inning by letting Emilee Zimmerman’s grounder go under her glove. After Tori Meece singled for the first of the Colts’ three hits on the day, Sherry fielded Kelsen Lewarchick’s sacrifice bunt and hesitated before throwing the ball into right field.
An error by Brunswick catcher Molly Grzybowski, who had the ball get away from her after a force out at the plate, helped the Colts score another unearned run to get within 4-2.
When McLaughlin walked Lauren Strebel to load the bases with one out, Sherry came on in relief and got cleanup hitter Karissa Kelling looking on a 3-2 pitch. K.D. Smith got an infield single to pull the Colts within 4-3 before Sherry ended the inning by getting Shannon Mohney to ground out.
That was the first of eight straight batters retired by Sherry, who ended her own streak by misplaying a Smith come-backer with one out in the sixth.
“The little bit Brunswick was willing to give up, we took advantage,” Cloverleaf coach John Carmigiano said. “But outside of that one inning, they were clutch and took advantage of every one of our mistakes. We couldn’t find that clutch hit tonight.”
The Colts also made a costly error, as third baseman Kelling’s bad throw with two outs in the fifth led to a pair of unearned runs that put Brunswick up 6-3.
The Blue Devils, who got three singles, a double, three runs scored and an RBI from No. 2 hitter Jess Calhoun and two singles, a double, a run scored and two RBIs from cleanup hitter Bentler, didn’t need help.
Brunswick banged out 10 hits, six coming against Cloverleaf left-hander Kelsen Lewarchick (7-10), who gave up four earned runs in four innings. Sierra Pickett pitched the last three innings and gave up one earned run.
“I was a little upset,” Calhoun said of her team’s three-error third inning. “I was in the outfield, so there wasn’t much I could do about it, but it gave us the drive to get some more hits.”
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.