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Mohawk explodes late, wins 19th straight title

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Dominant in the circle
Mohawk’s Bailey Sheets pitched a complete game shutout against Norwalk St. Paul on Thursday to help the Warriors clinch their 19th straight sectional title. Sheets struck out nine and walked one in six innings.
Daily Chief-Union/Brian Hemminger

By BRIAN HEMMINGER

City editor

SYCAMORE — The Mohawk softball team took a while to get rolling, but the Warriors erupted in the sixth inning to run rule Norwalk St. Paul 10-0 and earn their 19th consecutive sectional title Thursday at Sycamore.

Leading 4-0 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, Mohawk (18-4) opened up the floodgates thanks to some gutsy baserunning.

Kendal Bailey reached on an error and Lauren Moyer was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with one out. Tori Phillips then popped out to the second baseman but Bailey tagged up and took off for third, barely beating the tag. Moyer also tagged up when St. Paul threw to third.

With runners on second and third and now two out, Mohawk’s next seven batters reached base safely. Bailey Sheets recorded an RBI bunt single, advancing to second on indifference. Alysen Young then knocked home two by lacing a single to right center. AJ Chevalier and Brooklen Helton followed with singles to load the bases and then Aley Schock walked with the bases loaded to chase St. Paul starting pitcher Amelia Rospert from the game.

Josi Vasquez was called upon in relief and she proceeded to walk Josie Granata with the bases loaded and Bailey finished off the victory with an RBI single that poked through the left side of the infield.

“Slower pitches, our batting lineup is struggling right now to make an adjustment to that,” Mohawk coach Mindy Walton said. “… For us to come out, we put up 10 runs, got the run rule, it was a good day.”

Early on, St. Paul held its own with a combination of strong defense and timely pitching to help keep Mohawk’s offense in check. 

The bottom of Mohawk’s lineup helped the Warriors get on the board in the bottom of the second inning. Helton singled, stole second and then was knocked home when Schock slugged an RBI triple. Granata then brought Schock home with a bloop single over the infield. After a pair of bunt singles by Bailey and Moyer to load the bases, Sheets walked to score a run. Young then blasted a ball to deep center, but St. Paul’s center fielder possibly saved a grand slam with a catch at the fence.

Hard contact
Mohawk’s Aley Schock connects with a pitch on Thursday. Schock had the lone extra base hit for Mohawk with a triple, also singling and walking as Mohawk defeated Norwalk St. Paul 10-0.
Daily Chief-Union/Brian Hemminger

“(St. Paul) had nothing to lose coming into this,” Walton said. “They had some amazing plays. They took that grand slam away from Alysen Young in center field. Their shortstop and third baseman made some great plays as well.” 

Mohawk added another run in the bottom of the third inning with two outs. Schock singled, stole second, then advanced to third on an error and came home on a throwing error from the catcher to make it 4-0 Warriors. 

While Mohawk’s offense was inconsistent at times, the one reliable cog was Sheets, who kept St. Paul’s offense off the board, pitching a six-inning shutout while striking out nine and walking one. St. Paul managed just four hits. 

“(Sheets is) just getting more and more comfortable in there,” Walton said. “We did a great job on defense tonight so she knows the girls have her back and that just gives her even more confidence to throw strikes.”

While the top of Mohawk’s lineup took some time to adjust to a slower-throwing pitcher, the bottom of the lineup feasted.

Helton had two hits, Schock went 2-for-3 with a triple and a walk, Granata went 1-for-2 with two walks and Bailey had two hits, including the walk-off winner.

“Our bottom of the lineup has come through many times previously and that really didn’t surprise me much because they really tend to get going if for some reason the top of our lineup isn’t hitting as well,” Walton said. 

St. Paul starting pitcher Rospert allowed 10 runs, but just three were earned on 13 hits in 5 2-3 innings. She walked three and struck out one.

Klaire Hickey was the lone member of the Flyers to reach base safely twice, going 2-for-3 with a double.

Looking ahead, Mohawk will take on Monroeville at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Galion in the Division IV district semifinal.

“If we’re gonna make it to districts and beyond, we’re really gonna have to step up our game,” Walton said. “I always say we have an A-team and a B-team, which one is coming to play tonight? I’m hoping the A-team is there next week.” 

Score by innings

St. Paul                      000                              000                              — 0 4 3

Mohawk                      031                              006                              — 10 13 3

WP: Sheets (18-3); LP Rospert. 

2B: Hickey (SP).

3B: Schock (M).


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