By ANDY WOLF
TIFFIN — When runs are hard to come by, small mistakes turn into huge mistakes.
St. Wendelin committed three costly errors Friday, resulting in four unearned runs that turned out to be the difference in a 4-0 Division IV sectional semifinal loss to Tiffin Calvert.
The Senecas (8-9) advance to face today’s winner between Fremont St. Joseph and Old Fort in a 5 p.m. district semifinal Tuesday at Fremont Ross High School.
Nicole Bickley (6-6) tossed a complete-game shutout, scattering six hits with one walk and four strikeouts to earn the win.
“It feels great because we just lost to them recently,” Bickley said, referring to a 1-0 loss to the Mohawks last Friday. “I was just hitting my spots really well and I was on tonight.”
Meghan Reiter took the loss after allowing only four hits and two walks with six strikeouts in a complete game.
“She got stronger as the game went on,” St. Wendelin coach Theresa Webb said. “She pitched good enough to keep us in there, but we didn’t have the bats behind her.”
Calvert made the most of its four hits. The Senecas plated two runs off Reiter in both the third and fifth innings with key hits.
“I was surprised with how well we put the ball in play since we hadn’t practiced in three days,” said Tiffin Calvert coach Rob Ritzler, whose club, like all others in the area, has been affected by the recent inclimate weather. “My two seniors, Kate (Brickner) and Nicole, came through with some big hits.”
With one out in the third inning, Meredith Lucius reached on an infield error and came around to score the first run of the game on a double by Brickner.
Brickner soon advanced to third on a passed ball and then scored as Nicole Fretz reached on infield error.
Two innings later Lucius drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third base on a throwing error on Taylor Ritzler’s bunt. After Reiter retired the next two batters, Bickley crushed an 0-1 pitch into the left-center gap for a two-run double.
“I really wanted (the base runners) to get in and get a bigger lead on (St. Wendelin),” Bickley said. “She threw me a changeup, so I took advantage of that.”
The Mohawks (10-12) saw their share of scoring opportunities but couldn’t come through.
St. Wendelin’s Cortney Babb reached on a fielder’s choice in the second inning and advanced to second on a throwing error. Sammie Digby laced the next pitch into left field for a single, prompting Babb to come around third looking to score.
But Lucius delivered a strike from left field to home plate, beating Babb to the plate for the final out of the inning.
Bickley cruised through the next two innings, retiring all six batters, five coming via flyout.
“We tried to pitch Reiter and Mowrey inside so they couldn’t get their arms extended,” Rob Ritzler said. “Nicole hit her spots and worked ahead in the count, which is a big thing for her.”
Allie Rutter doubled to lead off the fifth inning for the Mohawks, but she was stranded at third base.
Cailin Reineck drew a leadoff walk in the sixth inning and advanced to second on a single by Reiter.
A wild pitch put both runners in scoring position with two outs, but the inning ended on a towering fly ball to right field by Edy Mowrey.
“We hit under the ball and had too many easy fly balls,” Webb said. “For the first four innings, we weren’t patient enough. We were swinging at first pitches and too early in the count.”
Digby and Raegen Preble each singled in the seventh inning, but Bickley recorded a strikeout to end the game with the tying run on deck.
“They just didn’t have their game for whatever reason,” Webb said of her hitters. “They didn’t have their hitting and did not do the defense at the right time, and the other team did. It just wasn’t our day.”
Rutter finished with a double and a single and Digby had a pair of singles.
St. Wendelin 000 000 0 – 0 6 3 Tiffin Calvert 002 020 x – 4 4 1
WP– Bickley (6-6). LP — Reiter. top hitters: (SW) Rutter 2B, 1B; Digby 2-1B. (TC) Brickner 2B, 1B, RBI; Bickley 2B, 2 RBI.
records: St. Wendelin 10-12; Tiffin Calvert 8-9.