FINDLAY — Cardington spoiled Galion’s first regional tournament softball appearance in more than 30 years Wednesday, beating the Lady Tigers 9-2 in a Division III regional semifinal at Findlay High School.
Cardington moved on to the Division III Elite 8 and a regional championship game Saturday at noon vs. the Eastwood Eagles from Pemberville. The Pirates, who are ranked fourth in the state, have outscored opponents 60-8 during this year’s tournament. Eastwood, the No. 5 team in the state, has scored just 28 runs over a four-game span, but has not allowed a single run. The winner advances to the state tournament in Akron.
Galion plated its two runs on seven hits — all singles — while committing four errors in the field. The Tigers stranded eight base runners, four in scoring position.
“We are just really proud of what this team has accomplished,” said Galion coach Doug Hunt. “Having just 11 girls and not a single senior on the team for leadership was going to be a challenge, but these girls were up to it. I really can not say enough about this group, their bond and what is still to come for the program.”
Cardington scored nine runs on 13 hits, committed two errors and left 11 runners on, nine in scoring position. The Lady Pirates also stole six bases. Galion did not steal any.
Kate Schieber got Galion’s first hit of the game, with one out against Pirates starter Casey Bertke, but was left on base.
Cardington took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first on Balyee Adam’s three-run homer over the left field fence.
In Galion’s portion of the second, Maddy Harmon deliver a two-out and Kayden Caudill reached on an error but both were left on base.
In the bottom of the inning, with two outs, Kierson George delivered a triple to put herself into scoring position. Adams reached on an error, as would Chelsey Miller, which resulted in another run and put two on with two outs for the Pirates. The Pirate’s Rylie Partlow cleared the bases with a double to expand the Cardington lead to 6-0.
In the third, Galion stranded another runner after Kaple single. It was the fourth left on base. Cardington responded with three singles in the bottom of the inning, but did not score.
Struggles continued for the Lady Tigers offense in the fourth. They didn’t score despite two singles and a well-placed sacrifice bunt by Harmon. Cardington upped its advantage to 8-0, scoring Bertke helped her own cause by knocking in two runs with a double.
Galion got on the scoreboard in the sixth. Kate Schieber and Neveah Clark singled. Clark was replace by pinch runner Anissa Sublett. Emily Sedmak’s sacrifice fly scored Schieber and advance Sublett. That brought Gracie Groves to the plate. She hit a hard shot Cardington’s shortstop, which resulted in a throwing error, and allowed Sublett to score, cutting Galion’s deficit to 8-2.
Galion didn’t get a hit in the sixth or seventh innings. But Cardington got one when Brooklyn Whitt scored Ally Moore with the last run of the game.
Hunt says of the Cardington offense, “We came into this game knowing that they were well disciplined at the plate and that their entire lineup was capable of driving the ball,” Hunt said. “They executed very well, found the holes in the outfield and were very smart on the base path.
Bertke earned the victory for Cardington, going the entire seven innings, allowing the two runs and seven hits while striking out five and walking one. Thomas would take the loss, giving up nine runs on 13 hits while walking five and striking out three.
Offensive statistics for Galion were: Kaple- 1B; Schieber- 2-1B, R; Clark- 1B; Sublett- R; Sedmak- RBI; Groves- RBI; Thomas, Harmon and Kayden Caudill- 1B, apiece.
Offensive stats for the Lady Pirates: Whitt- 2-1B, 2B, RBI, R; George- 1B, 3B, 2R, 3SB; Adams- HR, 3RBI, 2R, SB; Reanna Roth- R; Partlow- 2-2B, 2RBI, R, SB; Clinger- 1B, R; Bertke- 1B, 2B, 2RBI; Hubley- 1B, SB and Moore- 1B, R.
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