December 22, 2014

Medina
Partly sunny
32°F
 

Colts give Wildcats a scare

Bob Daniels

The Gazette

LaGRANGE TWP. — Keystone, the second-ranked Division II softball team in the state, found itself in a jam against sub-.500 Cloverleaf on Thursday afternoon.

The Wildcats trailed the Colts by two runs in the fifth inning of their LaGrange District semifinal at Community Park, and Cloverleaf pitcher Sierra Pickett was working on a two-hitter.

Two freshmen, a sophomore and a senior rescued the Wildcats in a 7-5 victory.

How does Keystone (26-3) fall behind an unranked opponent with a season-ending 10-19 record?

 “We were really confident in our chances today,” Colts coach John Carmigiano said. “Our kids weren’t scared. They came out to win and compete, and I couldn’t be more proud of the effort they gave. Pickett threw really strong at the end of the (regular schedule) and we definitely had a lot of confidence to send her out there tonight.”

 “(Cloverleaf) came with a lot of energy,” Keystone coach Jim Piazza said.

The victory sends Keystone into a district final against Patriot Athletic Conference rival Buckeye (12-11) at 4:30 p.m. today at CommunityPark.

Cloverleaf led 1-0 when McKenah Peters, Keystone’s freshman first baseman, tied it with a home run to lead off the third.

Cloverleaf took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Kelsen Lewarchick reached on a two-out error and scored from second on Hallee Smith’s single to center. Smith made it 3-1 when she ran home on Karissa Kelling’s single to left.

For Keystone fans, it must have evoked memories of the 2013 district semifinal, when the Wildcats, who had been voted the country’s No. 1 high school team in 2012, were upset 1-0 by Firelands.

They needn’t have worried.

In the fifth, freshman left fielder Paige Hartley cut the deficit to 3-2 with a one-out homer to left. It became the spark Keystone needed.

 “That was the longest ball I ever hit,” Hartley said. “It was my first home run. The pitch was a middle pitch, which is my strongest pitch and that’s why I think I hit it so far. After I got the hit, I was aware that we started getting pumped up and we had a huge two-out rally.”

With two outs in the fifth, senior Morgan McNulty doubled to left and scored the tying run when freshman Sammie Stefan reached on an error. Keystone got its first lead, 4-3, when sophomore third baseman Destiny Weber doubled Stefan home.

 “I knew I needed to have a good hit,” McNulty said. “I just focused, saw the ball and just did what I had to do. I think when (Hartley) hit that home run it gave us the heart and the confidence we all needed.”

In the sixth, sophomore shortstop Summer Constable provided the Wildcats’ winning margin when she drilled a three-run homer to center.

“I know we didn’t come out as strong as we had hoped,” Constable said. “But we have the heart and that’s one of the biggest components you need as a great team. You never want to get down on yourself, because you never know when you’re going to come back. We definitely have heart.”

The Colts made a final push with two outs in the seventh when Smith hit a two-run homer, but Keystone senior Emily Cornish (12-0), on in relief of Lauren Shaw, retired the next batter on a fly ball to center.

 “How about those freshmen?” Piazza said. “And 8-9-1-2 in the batting order (Peters, Hartley, Constable and McNulty) did a great job. Our lineup hasn’t been the same all year. We go by the teams we face. Once we relaxed and stayed back on the ball like we’re supposed to, we did nice things.”

Contact Bob Daniels at sports@medina-gazette.com.

Keystone 7, Cloverleaf 5

LaGrange Division II District Semifinal

Cloverleaf (10-19)                    Keystone (26-3)

                      AB   R   H  BI                            AB   R   H  BI

HSmith             4    2    2    3       Constable        4    1    1     3

Kelling               3    0    1    1       McNulty          3    1    1     0

Heckman          0    0    0    0       Stefan              2    1    0     0

KDSmith           2    0    0    0       Weber             3    0    1     1

Pickett               2    0    0    0       Herrington       3    0    1     0

Frank                0    0    0    0       Bonner             0    0    0     0

Bell                    2    1    1    0       Hayes              2    0    0     0

Meckley            2    0    0    0       Shaw               2    0    0     0

Meece               3    0    2    1       Akers               0    0    0     0

Harmon            0    0    0    0       Cendrosky      1    0    0     0

Mohney             3    0    0    0       Peters              4    2    2     1

Lewrchck          2    2    0    0       Hartley            3    2    2     1

Fowler              0    0    0    0       Schaffer           0    0    0     0

Totals              23    5    6    5       Totals            24    7    0    0

CLOVERLEAF                 010 020 2 —  5 5 2

KEYSTONE                       001 033 X — 7 8 1

LOB — Cloverleaf 3, Keystone 5. E — Fowler, Bell, Peters.. DP — Keystone. 2B — Meece, Herrington, McNulty, Hartley. HR — H.Smith, Peters, Hartley. S — Meckley, Bell, McNulty. SB — H. Smith, Lewarchick.

                                               IP       H      R    ER    BB    SO

Cloverleaf

Pickett (L, 5-9)                       6        8       7        5        1        5                                              

Keystone

Shaw                                    4⅔        4       3        2        1        1

Cornish (W, 12-0)              2⅓        1       2        2        1        0

WP — Pickett.