By MATT NYE
PEMBERVILLE — Fostoria High School played with energy, toughness and heart Friday, but one of the better teams in the area was able to withstand it all.
Eastwood, trying to reach the state tournament for the second consecutive year, beat the Lady Red 4-1 in a Division II sectional championship game Friday at Doug Zellner Field.
The Eagles managed only two hits, to the Lady Red’s five, but FHS hurt itself by committing five errors.
Eastwood (21-1) will take on either Bowling Green or Maumee Tuesday in a district semifinal at Genoa.
“We struggled a little bit at the plate, but you saw it … we played with a lot of energy and effort today,” FHS coach Clayton Moore said after his team exited the tournament trail at 6-16. “We didn’t come to play a good game — we came to win. We just fell short to a good team, a well-coached team. We had a couple of blunders out there, and that’s what good teams do — they take advantage of it, and give credit to them.”
Cassidy Rolf got the scoring started for the Eagles by clobbered a solo home run over the center field fence in the bottom of the first inning. She drove in three runs in the game, while teammate Anna Rahrig added a single and an RBI.
Samantha Shirling recorded 11 strikeouts with no walks for the Eagles in a complete game.
Erica Moore took the loss after giving up one earned run on one hit with three strikeouts in three innings.
“We wanted to give Erica (Moore) around two or three innings and then put Alex (Hersch) in to show them some off-speed,” Clayton Moore said. “That was the game plan going in, but Erica got into a little trouble there when we couldn’t stay away from the errors. But it still worked because Alex came in and did a great job keeping us in the game. I mean, we held a good team to four runs and if we wouldn’t have had those errors it might have been a different ballgame.”
Hersch drove in the Lady Red’s only run with a single in the fourth inning that scored Alexus Smith from second base. But with the score tied at 1-1 and FHS’ confidence starting to rise, Eastwood responded.
Krista Jennings reached second on an error, reached third on a wild pitch and then scored on a wild throw past the third baseman. Rolf earned a walk and then stole second and third before scoring on a Rahrig single.
Rolf hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth inning that scored Mackenzie Albright, upping Eastwood’s lead to 4-1.
“On our end, we didn’t hit the ball well at all today,” Eastwood coach Joe Wyant said. “We don’t hit slow pitching very well. (Coach Moore) has done this (changing pitchers) to us twice now this season and it’s great coaching on his part because we could not hit the slow stuff. We just have been in a little bit of a funk this past week, but we still did play pretty good defense and our pitcher has been really good, so a win is a win right now.”
Wyant was pleased with Shirling’s performance.
“I thought she pitched pretty well overall,” he said. “I thought she got on a roll there, retiring six in a row in the second and third innings, but she’s done a good job for us all year. She doesn’t walk anybody. I think she’s only walked, like, six people all year.”
Moore, Smith, Cyenna Lindsey and Kaitlyn Gonyer singled for the Lady Red.
“I do want to say that the last two times we’ve played Fostoria, they’ve played really hard,” said Wyant, whose team beat FHS 5-0 in their first encounter in Northern Buckeye Conference play. “They are doing a really good job over there and they’ve played really hard against us in both games.”
Fostoria 000 100 0 — 1 5 5
Eastwood 100 210 x — 4 2 1
WP — Shirling. LP — Moore. top hitters: (Fos) Hersch 1B, RBI. (Ea) Rolf HR, 3 RBI; Rahrig 1B, RBI.
RECORDS — Fostoria 6-16; Eastwood 21-1.