Ron Poniewasz Jr.
New Castle News
The defense struggled yesterday and it proved costly for the Wilmington High softball team.
The Lady Greyhounds committed six errors in dropping a 9-5 District 10, Class AA quarterfinal-round decision to Northwestern at Allegheny College.
“It was just the wrong day to pick one of our worst games to play,” first-year Wilmington coach Tom Reed said. “If you lose, you’re done. It was a great season, though. You can’t hold your head too low.”
The Lady Greyhounds end their season at 17-3. Last year, Wilmington advanced to the district championship before falling to Fairview.
The Lady Wildcats (10-8) move on to meet Harbor Creek, a 4-3 victor over Mercer, at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Allegheny College in the semifinals.
Northwestern jumped on Wilmington with two runs in the top of the first.
“That was huge, scoring first,” Lady Wildcats coach Al Bricker said. “We were the underdog and we needed to take advantage of batting first.
“I thought we needed to score first and send a message and we did that. We wanted to try to get them on the defensive instead of allowing them to play on the offensive.”
Reed wasn’t too worried about the early deficit.
“That just tells me we had some work to do and we did,” he said. “We got a run back in the bottom of the first.”
The Lady Greyhounds scratched another run across in the second inning to tie the game at 2. But Northwestern got two more markers in the third for a 4-2 advantage.
Wilmington got to within 4-3 after three frames before the Lady Wildcats struck for two more runs in the fourth and a 6-3 advantage. The Lady Greyhounds chipped away, plating two runs in the fifth to close to 6-5.
Northwestern, though put the game away in the seventh, scoring three insurance runs for a four-run cushion.
“Those runs were the big thing,” Reed said. “We had the meltdown on three throwing errors there and that was big.
“We were coming up with the meat of our order up in the seventh and holding them scoreless would have been a key.”
Said Bricker, “That was huge for us. We had given them five unearned runs to that point. We needed that breathing room.”
Wilmington got one runner on base in the seventh, but didn’t seriously threaten and Northwestern held on for the win.
Abby Sotter took the loss. Sotter tossed seven innings, giving up 13 hits and nine runs — five earned — with three walks and a strikeout.
“Abby pitched her usual game,” Reed said. “She pitched fine, they just made some good contact against her.”
The Lady Greyhounds lose four players to graduation — Sotter, Kristen Klein, Megan Houyouse and Jordan Garrett.
“That’s a good group of girls,” Reed said. “Seniors provide the leadership.
“I thought we had a good season. I hope they use this loss to build on for next year. We have a lot of girls coming back. I’m proud of the kids. I’ll miss the seniors, but I’m looking forward to next season.”