Crestline ends SE’s season

SHELBY – Crestline’s Natalie Sayre had Tuesday’s district semifinal with Seneca East covered.

In the circle, she pitched a complete game six-hitter.

At the plate, she smacked a two-run homer and drove in another key run, pushing the Bulldogs to a 5-2 victory over the Tigers.

Sayre struck out six, walked one and had a no-hitter threw 4 1/3 innings, a stretch in which she faced the minimum.

“Anytime you get somebody like Natalie, she takes care of the circle,” Crestline coach Ron Shumate said. “And then, she’s our No. 4 hitter for a reason. She’ll take care of business up there, too.”

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the third. Seneca East starter Rachel Bauman had stranded three Bulldogs runners to that point, and was looking to strand another with two outs.

Sayre had other ideas, guiding a Bauman pitch over the wall in right field.

“The jet stream kind of helped, too,” Seneca East coach Jerry Hassinger said, with a smile. “And again, not taking anything away from her, because she hit it well, she hit it solid, she took a nice, easy, smooth swing, and it just took off.”

Marisa Twigg got the Tigers’ first hit with one out in the fifth, and Holly Bordner followed by slapping a single to left to put two on. Kristen Bowerman sacrificed the runners, but the threat ended when Kayleen England lined to short.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Bulldogs added a run on an RBI single by Sayre, going up 3-0.

The Tigers rallied in the sixth.

After two were out, Sayre gave up back-to-back singles to Cameil Ruffing and Bauman. Then she walked Caitlin Sauers to load the bases.

That brought up Twigg, who dropped a single into shallow left, scoring Ruffing and pinch runner Cassandra Linkey. The Tigers’ deficit was cut to one.

The next hitter, Bordner, hit a line drive right at the center fielder to end the inning.

“She pitched a great game; she really did,” Hassinger said of Sayre. “It took us a while to get onto her, and I told the kids, ‘Keep your heads up; we’re gonna score runs.’

“Just too little, too late,” Hassinger said. “But I’m proud. They never quit.”

The Bulldogs put the game away with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth. For the game, the Tigers committed five errors. It was their final contest of the season.

“They were to the point where they were trying too hard; they just needed to relax,” Hassinger said of his team. “And I can understand that, too. My stomach was churning over there.”

Bauman was solid, allowing just two earned runs and striking out eight.