MOUNT BLANCHARD — An ugly win is a win nonetheless. When in tournament play, a win is all one can ask for.
Despite three errors themselves, Mohawk softball capitalized off six miscues by No. 10 Arlington to claim a Division IV sectional championship with a 7-4 victory at Riverdale on Thursday.
“I’d put that in the ugly-win column if there was one,” Warriors coach Jenny Weinandy said. “We let the tournament monkey jump on our back. We let the tournament play us, rather than playing the game. We put a lot of pressure on us and we didn’t play well overall.”
The Warriors move on to face McComb (14-9) at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Findlay High School in the district semifinals.
After falling behind 1-0 in the second inning, Mohawk (15-5) took a one-run lead in the next inning and pushed its advantage to 7-2 through the middle of the seventh inning, thanks in large part to the top four batters in its lineup.
Sarah Runion, Ashley Cooper, Taylor McClain and Kasey Adelsperger, respectively, combined to go 5 of 11, with four walks and scored all seven of the team’s runs against the Red Devils (18-4).
“It wasn’t just another game, but then again you have to keep cool and relaxed so when the time comes,” McClain said. “If you’re tensed up, you make mistakes. … When hitting at the plate, coach just tells me to relax, so that’s what I try to do.”
McClain went 3 for 4 with a pair of runs and RBIs. She reached base on a fielder’s choice in her first at-bat. Sarah Runion walked three times and scored three runs. Knocking them home often was Adelsperger, who went 2 for 4 with three RBIs.
While hitting well at the plate, Adelsperger was once again dominant in the circle as she dueled against Arlington’s Rachel Helms.
“We’ve faced some pretty good pitchers over the season, but nobody that throws that hard,” Arlington coach Greg Feller said. “Last week, we’ve been trying to speed the pitching machine up to get the girls swinging a little earlier, but evidently we didn’t have quick enough bats because she’s pretty darn quick. I don’t know what her speed is, but we just couldn’t catch up with it.”
Adelsperger (13-4) allowed five hits and three walks, while striking out nine.
As she was throwing nothing but heat, Helms (16-3) was doing her best at spotting the ball.
“She’s an excellent pitcher,” Weinandy said. “She stays calm, stays relaxed, puts the pitches where she wants to and that’s the reason they got so far.
“You would think by the seventh inning we would time their pitcher up, but we waited too long,” she added. “Maybe we were too aggressive, but we work on it at practice to wait on that pitch. We just hit right too them.”
Helms allowed six hits, four walks and four earned runs.
The Warriors got on the board in the third inning after Helms walked both Runion and Cooper and allowed a McClain single and Adelsperger double.
Runion and McClain crossed the plate in the fifth inning as they reached again on a walk and single, respectively. Adelsperger drove in Runion, while McClain scored as the second baseman hit the back fence on an attempt to go home.
The trio of Runion, Cooper and McClain added cushion in the seventh by scoring once again.
The Red Devils made it interesting in their final at-bats as Elizabeth Helms and Hannah Johnson came around to score with only one out.
After Weinandy went out to the mound to calm her team down, two more batter reached base and moved to first and third. Unfortunately for Arlington, Morgan Insley lined out to Runion at shortstop, who threw over to third base to double up the runner and put the rally to bed.
“It means a lot, but I think we can go farther and do better,” McClain said. “Mohawk has a tradition to do big things for softball.”
The Warriors resume regular season action at 5 p.m. today as they host non-conference foe North Baltimore.
Score by innings
Mohawk 002 020 3 — 7 6 3
Arlington 010 100 2 — 4 5 6
WP: K. Adelsperger (13-4); LP: R. Helms (16-3).
2B: K. Adelsperger (M).
3B: Jolliff (A).
By PATRICK MASSARA