FOSTORIA - It is said that defense wins championships. However, the opposite also holds true. Faulty defense can cost a team a tournament game.
Five St. Wendelin errors contributed to eight unearned Fremont St. Joe runs in a 12-6 Streak district semifinal victory, Tuesday at Fostoria High School.
St. Wendelin coach Theresa Webb said after the game that defense has been an Achilles' heel for her team all season, costing the Mohawks several games. That once again was the case Tuesday as a series of sixth inning mistakes cost St. Wendelin its tournament life.
Three errors helped the Streaks plate six runs, putting a once-close game out of reach.
"We played five good innings of defense. The sixth inning, obviously, we gave it to them. ... You can't have seven outs in an inning and expect to not give them a few runs, especially a team as good as St. Joe," Webb said. "If we would've not had the errors and made the plays we should've, we could've been out of that inning with no runs. And then obviously tied it up with that one run being 6-6. As I tell them, 'it's a lot different for that pitcher pitching the seventh inning in a 6-5 game than a 12-5 game."
St. Joe took the plate in the bottom of the sixth clinging to a 6-5 lead. The inning started innocently enough with Amanda Binder blooping a single into short right field.
Fremont St. Joe 12,
St. Wendelin 6
St. Wendelin (11-13): Chloe Reiter 4-1-2-1; Haley Wolfe 3-2-3-0; Meghan Reiter 4-1-3-2; Edy Mowrey 3-0-0-0; Adrienne Emerine 4-0-1-0; Catrina Lang 4-1-2-0; Beth Hay 4-0-1-0; Johnna Hoover 3-0-0-0; Sammie Digby 3-1-2-0; Maddie Stratham 0-0-0-0. Totals: 32-6-14-3.
Fremont St. Joe (16-10): Kristin Sessler 4-2-3-3; Be Reardon 4-2-2-2; Ashley Burns 3-1-0-0; Emily Ronski 3-1-2-0; Katie Stroup 4-1-2-3; Cassidy Frank 4-0-0-0; Amanda Binder 4-1-0-1; Brigette Fulwider 3-1-0-0; Jensen LeJeune 3-3-3-0. Totals: 32-12-12-9.
St. Wendelin0140001 - 6
Fremont St. Joe320106X - 12
WP - Reardon. LP - M. Reiter
HR - Stroup (SJ), Sessler (SJ)
2B - LeJeune (SJ), C. Reiter (SW), Wolfe (SW
Then things began to go downhill for the Mohawks.
Brigette Fulwider and Jensen LeJeune each reached safely on sacrifice bunt attempts. Fulwider reached on an errant throw and LeJeune placed her bunt right down the first base line where no one was able to make a play.
Kristin Sessler brought in the first run of the inning with a bloop single of her own into left field and Be Reardon drove in two more runs with a base hit up the middle.
Then things really began to go downhill for the Mohawks.
A pair of dropped fly balls on back-to-back plays allowed three more runs to cross the plate and effectively punch St. Joe's ticket to the district finals.
St. Wendelin added a run in the seventh, but couldn't mount enough of a rally to extend its tournament run.
"It was really good," Sessler said when asked the importance of the sixth inning rally. "We were kind of uptight, and when we broke open that gap, everybody just kind of relaxed. It was like we were playing our game and we knew what we were doing and it felt good."
St. Joe has some mistakes of its own over the course of the game that gave St. Wendelin a few runs, but the Streaks made the big plays at important times. No defensive play was bigger than a catch center fielder Emily Ronski made in the fourth inning.
With the game tied at 5 and the Mohawks having two on with two out, Meghan Reiter lined a pitch to left-center. Ronski ran over and made a shoestring catch to end the threat.
"The softball Gods on a couple plays was with us, but that's what you play the games for," St. Joe coach Mark Boukissen said. "You're breaks either go your way or they don't go your way and today they went our way."
Early in the game it was the St. Joe offense making its own breaks.
In the first inning, after Reardon reached on an error, Ronski beat out a ground ball for an infield single. That was followed by Katie Stroup launching a 3-run home run over the center field fence.
An inning later, Sessler followed up with a two-run shot sending the Crimson Streaks to an early 5-1 lead.
"The first 3-run homer, Emily Ronski beating that throw out at first base. It was a bang-bang play. She was safe and Katie hitting that 3-run homer, that ignited us," Boukissen said. "Kristin getting that 2-run homer ... she drove that ball and once that ball left her bat I knew it was gone. And the girls got pumped up."
"I was just going up like I just wanted to make contact," Stroup said. "I fell in a little slump myself. I saw a pretty pitch and I took it. I was just wanting a little hit, not over the fence. That was a surprise."
St. Wendelin, though, refused to fold, battling back with four runs in the third inning.
Chloe Reiter singled home Sammie Digby and Meghan Reiter followed suit, driving home Chloe. Catrina Lang hit a grounder that got through the legs of Cassidy Frank at second base, scoring two more runs and tying the game.
"That's the one part of our game that we've have done pretty well all year. We have hit the ball pretty well," Webb said. "That's the one thing that does excite me, because we have a lot of younger players that are leading that. And other than Hailey (Wolfe) they're all coming back. If you can hit the ball and score those runs, you can afford to make one or two errors, just not as many misplays as we had on it."
Wolfe and Meghan Reiter each had three-hit days for the Mohawks (11-13). Chloe Reiter, Lang and Digby each had two hits.
St. Joe regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth when a ball hit by Sessler to center was misplayed, allowing LeJeune to score from first.
Sessler had three hits and three RBIs. Stroup finished with two hits and three RBIs. Reardon added two hits and two RBIs.
St. Joe (16-10) will play the winner of today's Lakota-Cardinal Stritch game Friday at 2 p.m. at Fostoria for the district title.