By ANDY WOLF
FREMONT — Morgan Gangwer proved strikeouts aren’t everything for a pitcher to be in complete control.
The Lakota junior struck out just three batters but tossed a two-hitter with the assistance of a strong defensive effort behind her, and the Raiders downed Sandusky St. Mary 11-1 in six innings Tuesday in a Division IV district semifinal at Ross High School.
“I felt really good today and everything was working,” Gangwer said after raising her record to 17-6. “I was just putting it there for (St. Mary) to hit and I believed in my defense.”
Lakota (17-7) advances to face Tiffin Calvert in Friday’s 5 p.m. district final at Ross.
Gangwer also showed a strong belief in her swing, only seeing four pitches in four at bats while generating two singles and two RBIs.
“I watch (the ball) come in and if it’s good I hit it, but if not then I wait for a good one,” Gangwer said fn her approach to the plate.
Sam Miller led the Raiders with two doubles, a single and two RBIs, while Destiney Long-Meyer totaled three singles and two RBIs. Aspen Ray tacked on a two-run double and Breanna Ray singled and drove in a run.
“We’ve been working on hitting a lot,” Gangwer said. “That’s one of our main focuses. I just believe in everybody when they go up to hit.”
The Raiders garnered 11 hits off St Mary’s Julia Edinger and benefited from six errors by the Panthers (4-18). Edinger (4-17) took the loss in a complete-game effort with three walks and two strikeouts.
“She allowed our defense to make plays, but unfortunately we didn’t make all the ones we should have,” St. Mary coach Julie Simon said.
Meanwhile, the Raiders committed just two errors, with one leading to St. Mary’s only run.
After a scoreless first inning, Hailey Green belted a one-out double into the gap and came around to score as the relay throw to third base sailed high.
But the Raiders quickly answered.
Gangwer led off the bottom of the second inning with a single and later scored from third on a throwing error. Destiney-Long Meyer put down a sacrifice bunt but reached on an error and Breanna Ray reached two batters later on walk. With two outs, Sam Miller came through with a clutch two-run double to put Lakota ahead 3-1.
In the top of the third inning, Katelyn Near drew a leadoff walk off Gangwer and eventually reached third. Amanda Sloan reached on an infield single, but catcher Bree Long-Meyer held the ball and fired to third to nab Near for the final out.
“I was happy to see the girls put the ball in play,” Simon said. “We had good swings, but Lakota played a great defensive game.”
In the bottom half of the inning, a pair of errors by the Panthers allowed Alaina Bickford to reach third base. Gangwer collected her first RBI on the very next pitch with a groundout that scored Bickford and gave the Raiders a 4-1 lead.
Gangwer then retired the side in the top of the fourth and Destiney Long-Meyer singled to lead off the bottom half. Two batters later, Breanna Ray reached on an error, scoring Long-Meyer.
Destiney Long-Meyer picked up an RBI single in the following inning to give the Raiders a 6-1 lead after five innings.
In the following inning, Gangwer needed just 10 pitches to retire the Panthers in order.
“She had good command and was able to move the ball around,” Lakota coach Chris Chalfin said. “Defensively, we played well. They hit it to us and we made plays.”
Breanna Ray led off the sixth with a single and Miller reached on a double. Bree Long-Meyer earned an RBI on a groundout to put the Raiders ahead 7-1.
After Taylor Odom reached on a walk, Gangwer connected for an RBI single and Aubrey Bickford drew another walk. From there Destiney Long-Meyer picked up her second RBI single, driving home Odom and Aspen Ray ended the game with a two-run single to force the run rule.
“It wasn’t one or two hitters, it was all the way through the lineup,” Chalfin said. “That’s what you really need to really advance.”
St. Mary 010 000 — 1 2 6
Lakota 031 115 — 11 11 2
WP — Gangwer (16-7). LP — Edinger. top hitters: (SM) Green 2B. (Lak) Miller 2-2B, 1B, 2 RBI; B. Ray 1B, RBI; A. Ray 1B, RBI; D. Long-Meyer 3-1B, 2 RBI; Gangwer 2-1B, 2 RBI.
records: St. Mary 4-19; Lakota 17-7.