By SCOTT COTTOS
NEW LONDON — Fostoria High School allowed New London to score in only two innings of Tuesday’s first-round Division III softball game.
But a seven-run fourth inning proved to be more than enough for the Wildcats, who rolled to a 9-0 victory.
Sixth-seeded New London, buoyed by a pair of three-run triples in the fourth inning and Kathy Vangilder’s four-hit pitching, will visit fourth-seeded Galion at 5 p.m. Friday in a district quarterfinal.
The Lady Red, with two regular-season games remaining, exited the tournament at 8-14.
Fostoria went toe-to-toe with the Wildcats for three scoreless innings. But after FHS went down in order in the top of the fourth, New London collected six hits in the bottom of the inning to take command.
“We had one bad inning that got away from us,” Fostoria coach Clayton Moore said. “It was a battle; you saw that. For 31/2 innings, it was touch and go. Anybody could have won it. They had that one inning where they broke out and we made some mistakes.
“And I’ll give credit where credit’s due. They took advantage of our mistakes. That’s what good teams do — they take advantage when people give them mistakes.”
Two singles, a walk and a fielder’s choice started the inning and brought No. 8 hitter Kelsey Boswell to the plate for the Wildcats with one out and the bases loaded. Boswell cleared the bases with a hard drive to right center that FHS center fielder Baleigh Robinson was unable to keep from rolling toward the fence.
After Sierra Hose scored from third base on a passed ball, Elizabeth Logan’s fly ball to left went over Kaybriauna Kleinmark’s head and landed near the fence, resulting in another three-run three-bagger.
Logan’s first-inning single off sophomore Elisia Ledesma was New London’s only hit prior to the fourth-inning explosion.
“To be honest, we are a slow-starting team,” first-year New London coach Joe Thomas said. “I think in most of our games this year, it’s taken us three or four innings to get rolling. We have a little bit of timing issues with the pitching. We finally got her timed up a little bit and started to roll. Our girls were a little impatient and weren’t squaring the ball up. It just took us three or four innings to get that going.”
The Lady Red threatened to get back into the contest when they loaded the bases to open the sixth on singles by Tia Overton, Kleinmark and Robinson. Vangilder, however, got out of the inning on a pair of pop-ups and a strikeout.
Fostoria reliever Alex Talley allowed a single and a pair of walks to start New London’s sixth before a run scored on Ledbetter’s fielder’s-choice grounder. A one-out walk to Lili Bartow forced in the Wildcats’ final run.
After scoring 10 runs in each of their last two games while defeating Genoa and Rossford, the Lady Red struggled against Vangilder, who registered six strikeouts and did not walk a batter. Moore had hoped a hitting slump was gone for good after the Genoa and Rossford contests.
“Sometimes hitting’s like a roller coaster — up, down, up, down,” he said. “The effort was there today. We made some good plays. I take my hat off to them. You’ve just got to tip your cap to a team that takes advantage of mistakes and gets the win.”
Talley is the only senior the Lady Red will lose to graduation.
“We should have a team that’s ready to do something, so I look forward to that,” Moore said. “They’ve got to get better this summer, and we’re going to finish out the rest of the spring, hopefully on a high note, and have momentum going into next year. I’ll take a lot of notes on things we can work on in the offseason and go from there.
“Our pitching has to get better and our fielding has to get better.”
Fostoria 000 000 0 — 0 4 3
New London 000 702 x — 9 7 2
WP — Vangilder. LP — Ledesma. TOP HITTERS: (Fos) Robinson, Settles, Overton & Kleinmark 1B; (NL) Lay 2-1B; Logan 3B, 1B, 3-RBI; Ledbetter 1B, RBI; Boswell 3B, 3-RBI.
RECORDS: Fostoria 8-14; New London 13-6.