Monday, May 7th / East Dublin ~ A playoff win makes the sun a little warmer, and the breeze a little crisper, and makes the evening go a little nicer. Scioto sent the Irish fans home happy with an exciting 1-0 walk-off victory, their first of the year! It was a pitcher’s duel in every sense of the word, a true nail- biter. Scoreless through 6 ½ innings, Hilliard Davidson was only able to get 2 runners into scoring position, and Scioto fared only a little better, and was able to move runners to 3rd three times. All three times with 2 outs, and all three times they left the runners there.
Madison Heasley pitched a complete game gem, by far her best outing of the year, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. She allowed back to back singles in the top of the 3rd, one in the hole and the other a soft grounder to the Bermuda Triangle. But she erased the lead runner with her own fielder’s choice and then struck out the next hitter looking for the final out of the inning. In the 5th, the Wildcat clean-up hitter hit a 1 out deep drive to the fence in right, but Heasley struck out the next hitter and coaxed the last hitter to a soft fly out, again stranding the base runner. The only other base runner reached on an error, but wouldn’t figure into the scoring. Heasley walked none and struck out 5 on the night, and she retired the final 7 batters she faced. She only pitched to 4 batters over the minimum.
There were several defensive highlights which served to keep the game close. Makayla Jauregui caught a foul ball popped off to the right side, just before crashing into the fence to put away the first hitter of the game. Sarah Booth tuned in a rock solid 6th inning turning in all three 5-3 outs. One was routine, one was a hot shot which she took off her shoulder, and the other was driven up the middle which she was able to track down and threw side arm to get the third out. Lucia Adams is starting to come into her own in the outfield and made a snag on a fly ball tracking away from the plate into the gap before colliding with Maddy Baughman, but hung on for the out (both of them were ok). Gretchen Baked showed the correct way to drop step and chase as she turned her back to the ball, raced to the spot and then camped under the high fly ball for the first out on a deep drive just in front of the fence in left to start the 7th with an out keeping the game scoreless.
Offensively, the Irish had several opportunities, but couldn’t capitalize and stranded 3 runners at 3rd. A gimpy Imani McCullough led off the bottom of the 1st with a 4 pitch walk, moved to second on an Emily Dinan sac bunt and to 3rd on a single by Booth, but would get no further. Baker was hit by a pitch in the 2nd, stole second and went to 3rd on a groundout. She got no further. Heasley was safe on an error, she too stole 2nd and moved to 3rd on a groundout. She was also left out to dry. The Wildcat pitcher retired the next 8 batters in a row. Until Heasley led off the bottom of the 7th. She hit a soft groundball that the Davidson first baseman strayed too far to grab, and Heasley flew up the line barely beating her to the bag to start the inning with a single. 1 pitch later, she picked up her second stolen base of the night, and then Jauregui went to work. After a brief meeting on the mound to confirm defensive strategy, the standoff started. The Davison pitcher worked her way around the strike zone not wanting to give in to Jauregui. After fouling off 3 pitches, and working to a full count, she popped a soft fly ball over the drawn in outfield, and Heasley scored standing up with the only run of the game!
The Irish continue their playoff push, taking to the road Wednesday night to Westerville Central, which we all know is actually north of Westerville North. They will take on 19th ranked Warhawks in the Sectional Championship game. First pitch slated for 5:00 at Warhawk Field.
Davidson 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 3 – 1
Scioto 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 – 3 – 1