Having to wait an extra day to finish their district semifinal game with Pleasant had no effect on the Cardington softball team’s offense.
In the Division III tilt hosted by Olentangy High School, pitcher Casey Bertke recorded a perfect top of the first inning before rains caused the game to be postponed from Tuesday until Wednesday.
When action resumed, the Pirates were unable to score in their half of the first, but then exploded for six in the second and six more in the third to set them on their way to taking a 14-0 victory that advanced them to Friday’s district finals at Pickerington Central against Olentangy.
Bertke pitched a strong game, only giving up two hits, while striking out two in five innings of shutout ball. She was assisted by a 14-hit Pirate attack that allowed the team to rack up the runs.
With one out in the second, Rylie Partlow doubled and a hit by Paige Clinger put runners on second and third for Bertke, who responded with a two-run double. Taiylor Hubley reached on an error and a single by Allie Moore made the score 3-0. Both Hubley and Moore would score with two outs on a three-run home run by Kierson George that staked the team to a 6-0 lead.
Cardington would get another home run in the third inning, as after Partlow doubled again and Clinger followed with another single, Bertke continued to help her cause with a three-run blast. George would later continue her strong offensive performance by doubling in Brooklyn Whitt and Moore. She would then score on a double by Baylee Adams that stretched the Pirate lead to a 12-run margin.
Whitt and Adams would drive in runs in the fourth inning to provide Cardington with their final margin of victory.
Both George and Bertke had five-RBI games for Cardington, with Bertke finishing with a homer, double and single and George having a home run and double. Partlow tallied a pair of doubles, while Moore and Adams both had a double and single and Clinger added two singles.
Big Walnut scored a run in the top of the seventh inning to edge Highland in their district semifinal game hosted by Pickerington North by a 7-6 margin.
Both teams scored twice in the first inning, but the Golden Eagles tallied four in the top of the fifth to take the lead. Highland battled back with two runs in both the fifth and sixth frames to tie the score, but couldn’t keep their momentum into the decisive seventh frame.
Trailing 2-0 going into the bottom of the first, Highland immediately struck back, getting a single by Savannah Fitzpatrick, who moved to second on an error and then stole third to score on a Parker Steck single. Liz Jensen grounded into a fielder’s choice that got Steck out, but she would then score on a Mattie Ruehrmund double to tie the game.
After BW’s big fifth inning, the Scots battled back in their half of the inning to trim their 6-2 deficit to a 6-4 margin. Fitzpatrick led off the inning with a double, advanced to third on a groundout by Steck and then stole home for one run. Jensen earned a walk and she would then score on a hit by Kaitlyn Carney.
In the sixth, Fitzpatrick picked up a one-out single and stole second. Steck worked a walk and then, with two outs, a Ruehrmund hit scored both Scots to tie the game at six. Unfortunately for Highland, they would not be able to forge ahead in the game and the Eagles were able to score the decisive run on a solo home run in the seventh inning by Stacy Walters, who finished with a team-high three hits.
Fitzpatrick was a perfect 4-for-4 in the game, recording a double and three singles. Ruehrmund added a double and single. On the mound, Lucy Smith suffered the loss, striking out four, but giving up 12 hits.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS