Columbus Grove third baseman Mackenzie Wurth makes a throw to first base during the teams disrtict semi-final game with Fairview Tuesday evening.
Columbus Grove third baseman Mackenzie Wurth makes a throw to first base during the teams disrtict semi-final game with Fairview Tuesday evening.

BATH TWP. — Columbus Grove kept battling Tuesday evening during their Division III softball district semi-final against Fairview. In the end, those early game jitters were a little too much to overcome for the Bulldogs.

Fairview took advantage of four Bulldog errors in the first two innings before holding off a late Columbus Grove rally for a 6-4 win. The win sends the Apaches (21-2) to the district finals Friday at 5 p.m. against the Ottawa-Glandorf/Parkway winner. The Bulldogs saw their season end at 15-8.

“We told the girls we could hang with this team,” Columbus Grove coach Travis Gallmeier said. “As the game went on we started to do the things we came in here wanting to do. I don’t if it was nerves at the beginning or what, but we started to field the ball and play well behind Hope as the game went on. Overall I felt like we came in here and gave it a shot.”

Columbus Grove got off to a good start taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

Fairview starter Kollen Boland retired the first two batters she faced before Hope Schroeder dropped a double down the left field line that fell in behind the Apache left fielder as she battled the wind to catch the ball. Katie Roose followed with a groundball to shortstop and when the throw to first base was wild it allowed Schroeder to score and Roose take second base. Another groundball to shortstop ended the inning.

The Apaches came right back with three runs in the bottom of the inning as Kelsey Beck lined a single to left. Meagan Johns laid down a sacrifice bunt and when the throw to first base eluded the Bulldog fielder the ball rolled along the fence allowing Beck to score from first base and Johns reach second base. Mallory Polter followed with a single to center that would have had put runners at the corners. The throw back to the infield got away from the Bulldogs allowing Johns to score and Polter raced all the way to third base. After a popup to the pitcher for the first out, a groundout by Ali Hug had the Apaches up 3-1.

Fairview added three two out runs to their lead in the second inning.

Katie Robinson opened the inning with a single to left, moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt and took third on a passed ball. After a popup to the pitcher for the second out, Beck followed with a flyball to right field that the Bulldog right fielder Brooke Hoffman started back on, then had to run in on. Hoffman had the ball in her glove before it popped out as she fell to the ground allowing Robinson to score and Beck reach second base. Johns reached on an error, then stole second base before Polter lined a single to center to score two runs making it a 6-1 game.

“We didn’t start out defensively the way we wanted with an error to give them a run, but hitting wise we didn’t let that affect us,” Fairview coach Staci Renollet said. “We were attacking the ball, using our speed and getting some bunts down, things we have been doing all year to get the offense going.”

The third inning was key to the Bulldogs staying in the game as Fairview loaded the bases on singles by Christina Gerbers and Boland around a Grove error that allowed Katie Robinson to reach. Schroeder worked out the jam without allowing a run getting two strikeouts and a flyball to center to keep it a 6-1 game.

“That was a big point in the game,” Gallmeier said. “We were down 6-1 and they have the bases loaded and the top of their lineup coming up and we get out of it. If they score there we may start to hang our heads, but we get out of it and it gave us some momentum that carried us through the rest of the game.”

Columbus Grove had a chance to get back into the game in the top of the fourth as they loaded the bases with one out.

Roose opened the inning a single to center before a flyball to right field for an out. Monica Delgado and Hoffman followed with singles that loaded the bases. The Bulldogs were unable to score as Mackenzie Wurth’s groundball to third forced a runner at home plate and a groundball to shortstop ended the threat.

Both pitchers then settled in as neither team could muster a scoring threat until the top of the seventh when Columbus Grove made a run at the Apaches.

Down to their final three outs, the Bulldogs attempted to pull off another magical comeback as Wurth lined a double to center field and moved to third on a groundout. Kyrah Yinger followed with a walk before Deanna Kleman hit a grounder back to the pitcher. Kleman was out at first base. but Wurth raced home with the Bulldogs second run. Schroeder made it a 6-4 game with a long home run over the left field fence.

Katie Roose walked and Micah Stechschulte followed with a single before a groundball to third base ended the game.

“In the seventh we started hitting the ball well and when you do that you never know what’s going to happen,” Gallmeier concluded. “Hope hit one thatI thought was going to land on the road. We’ve been doing this all year. In our two tournament games, before this one, we went nine innings with Bluffton and eight with Allen East. We always said we don’t ever want to quit and when we got out of that (third inning) jam we had some momentum, we just couldn’t get a hit. We hit the ball had, but everything was right at them.”

Schroeder took the loss as she allowed six runs on eight hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Schroeder had two hits for the Bulldogs. Six other players all had one hit for Grove.

Boland allowed four runs on seven hits with just one strikeout and four walks. Polter and Robinson both had two hits for Fairview.

 

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Columbus Grove 100 000 3 - 4 8 6

Fairview 330 000 x - 6 8 2

WP-Boland (6-0). LP-Schroeder (14-4).