MOUNT BLANCHARD — After three rain delays, Carey softball’s tournament run came to an end Wednesday at Riverdale High School as the Blue Devils were unable to complete the comeback against No. 8 New Riegel in the Division IV sectional finals.
The Blue Jackets (20-4) move on to face either Arcadia or North Baltimore in the district semifinals 5 p.m. Wednesday at Findlay High School. The Redskins and Tigers play at 5 p.m. tonight at Pandora-Gilboa.
Carey mounted comebacks in the fourth and fifth innings to tie the game at 2 and 5, but New Riegel countered with five runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings to take a 10-5 lead.
With two short rain delays to disrupt the inning, Makenzie Wentling and Ali Rymer reached base on walks for Carey (12-12) before Hannah Draper stepped up and drove them both in with a double to center field.
“We went in there with our heads held high and my girls were thinking, ‘We can do this,’ and I really think they could have,” Carey coach Jen Haught said. “I think the rain delay may have set us back a little bit after we got on a roll, but they definitely went in with confidence.”
Erin Boes stepped up next and hit a single and Draper attempted to score but stopped short of the catcher as right fielder Kara Scherger got the ball in on a rope to leave Draper scurrying back to third base. Catcher Taylor Arbogast got the ball to third baseman Megan Mathias, who tagged out Draper for the first out. During the rundown, Boes was able to move to second base to get into scoring position with just one out.
“Carey always plays us tough and we told (our girls) that ahead of time,” New Riegel coach Jamie Linginger said. “They always give us everything they have. We were going to be better than this team, but you never know what to expect as Carey always gives us a good game.”
Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, that was as far as the rally went as pitcher Taylor Kirian caught Haley Hoepf looking at strike three and Audrey Hotelling flew out to left field to end the comeback.
Kirian (19-4) went all seven innings to pick up the win, giving up seven hits and six walks, while striking out five. Rymer (11-10) took the complete-game loss as she gave up eight earned runs, 13 hits and three walks, while striking out one.
After Hotelling doubled home Draper and Boes in the fourth inning to tie the game, New Riegel regained the lead as Morgan Noftz doubled in Paige Noftz and eventually scored herself. Stacey Wank reached base on a fielder’s choice and Megan Mathias singled her in to cap the three-run inning.
“We had base runners every inning, but I thought we eventually got the base runners in that we needed to and people came up with some timely hits,” Linginger said. “Our No. 9 hitter Megan Mathias came up with some really timely hits and one really got us going in the one inning.”
The Blue Devils rallied with three runs of their own to tie it in the following frame as Rymer tripled to score Taylor Fletcher and Wentling, respectively. Rymer scored when Draper grounded out to the shortstop.
The Blue Jackets continued to hit the ball well as the rain continued to fall as Kirian, Brooke Scherger and both Noftzes came around to score with Taylor Arbogast knocking in the latter two on a single.
“We hit the ball and that’s kind of what we’ve been doing all year,” Linginger said. “We have hitters one through nine and we’re going to hit the ball. If you want to win, you better hit the ball and hit better than us.”
Despite the loss, Haught was pleased with her team’s effort after the Blue Jackets defeated them 9-4 earlier this season.
“I think we played a heck of a game,” she said. “It’s an improvement over the last time we played them. Last time we had a lot of errors, but tonight we played pretty clean, despite the weather.”
Carey has three games left in the regular season, beginning with hosting Arcadia at 5 p.m. Friday.
Score by innings
Carey 000 230 2 — 7 7
New Riegel 011 341 X — 10 13
WP: Kirian (19-4); LP: Rymer (11-10).
2B: Draper (C), Hotelling (C), Kirian (NR), M. Noftz (NR), Mathias (NR).
3B: Rymer (C), B. Scherger (NR).
By PATRICK MASSARA