MOUNT BLANCHARD — Despite its best defensive efforts, the Riverdale Falcons fell to the Carey Blue Devils, 9-3, in the Division IV sectional semifinal Saturday afternoon at Riverdale.
An early Carey error helped Riverdale (3-14) claim the lead, but trailing 3-2, the Blue Devils (14-12) exploded in the sixth inning for seven runs that allowed it to advance to the sectional final at 5 p.m. Wednesday against No. 2 seed New Riegel.
Held to only three hits through five innings by Jordyn Wright (2-12), Carey’s hitting came alive in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jessica Wyatt and Taylor Fletcher kicked off the at-bat with back-to-back hits and Ali Rymer singled to score Wyatt and tie the game at 3.
Erin Boes delivered a one-out, two-run single for the go-ahead runs to put the Blue Devils in the lead for the first time in the game, 5-3. Haley Hoepf followed up with a single, but Rymer was tagged out in a rundown between third and home for the second out.
Abby Hall walked and Audrey Hotelling singled to score Boes. Wyatt followed with a two-run single and Fletcher nailed the eighth hit of the inning, forcing in the final run and a pitching change.
Jordan Flemming stepped into the pitcher’s circle and gained the third out with a popup to second, but the damage had been done. Rymer (11-9) and Carey’s defense sealed the Blue Devils’ 9-3 victory with a one-two-three inning in the seventh.
“We just talked in the dugout about how we’ve been hitting all game,” Carey Jen Haught said. “It’s not like we weren’t hitting. We were just hitting right to them, and then we started finding those gaps.”
Riverdale claimed an early lead with a Taylor Clark walk and an error followed by a Jordyn Wright single. With no outs and the bases loaded, Julia Naus hit a line drive over first base, driving in two runs for a 2-0 Riverdale lead.
Carey responded with a single from Fletcher. The next two hitters came up empty, but with two outs, Hannah Draper stepped up to the plate and drove in a run, making the score 2-1 in Riverdale’s favor. Hoepf drove in the tying run with a single behind second.
In the top of the second inning, Riverdale reclaimed its lead. Tiffany Wright started the inning with a double to left field and was able to score the go-ahead run when Taylor Clark grounded out.
“The defense came ready to play today,” Riverdale coach Luke Swavel said. “It’s been a while. This was probably one of our best defensive games of the year. We got fortunate the first inning. We got an error from them and got a couple runs in and got an early lead 2-0. We were able to capitalize on those errors so early on we looked good.”
That was all the Falcons managed, though, as Carey’s defense and Rymer held Riverdale to only one hit through the last fifth innings.
Overall, Carey had 11 hits, while Riverdale tallied only three.
“Obviously the girls are very excited about this,” Haught said. “We played a somewhat close game with New Riegel, so we’re excited to get a second chance at them.”
First, though, Carey hosts Fremont St. Joseph at 5 p.m. Tuesday in regular season action. Riverdale is home against Lucas at the same time.
Score by innings
Riverdale 210 000 0 — 3 3
Carey 200 007 x — 9 11
WP: Rymer (11-9); LP: J. Wright (2-12).
2B: Wyatt (C), T. Wright (R).
By SHAUNA McMILLAN