Blue Devils put Riverdale on ice

KENTON Don’t get them wrong.

The Carey softball team was excited about its 5-0 victory over Riverdale Wednesday afternoon at Kenton High School in a Division IV district semifinal.

But the reaction of the team after it was told the bus would stop for ice cream on the way home was reminiscent of the days of little league.

There was ample reason to celebrate with some delicious frozen treats.

Sure it was a shutout victory against the 18-10 Falcons, but it also marked the first time in school history the team has made it to the district finals.

The reward? A date Friday with familiar Midland Athletic League foe and the No. 3 team in the state, New Riegel. The Blue Jackets run-ruled Carey the first time around this year, 14-4.

If the Blue Devils win that game, it may warrant more than a stop for ice cream, but rather a steak dinner.

“They came in tonight ready to play,” Carey coach Teresa Jacoby said. “It’s our first time ever making it to a district final at Carey, so we’re excited about that.

Wednesday was quite a difference than Carey’s sectional final game against Arcadia last Thursday when the Blue Devils (16-6) blasted four home runs.

Against the Falcons, there were just four hits for the Blue Devils, but 10 walks and the hits came at timely points in the fifth and seventh innings.

“We’ve been working on being selective at the plate and that’s really helped,” Jacoby said. “You get runners on (with a) walk and move them over into scoring position so the hits we did have tonight came up huge.”

Taylor Farmer (17-9) served as the victim, picking up the complete game loss and walking 10. The free pass total surprised even her coach, Luke Swavel.

“How many? Wow,” the Riverdale mentor said. “It really was two big innings where she was missing her spots. She’s a sophomore and she’s only going to get better. She’s our horse. We wouldn’t have been this far without her.”

On the winning bump was Ali Rymer (14-4). While her final pitching number didn’t dazzle (four strikeouts, three walks), she yielded just four hits and relied on some sparkling defense behind her.

“Ali had another great game pitching (with) some great, awesome defense tonight by the infield and outfield. They made a lot of great plays.”

Rymer tipped her cap to the team behind her.

“My defense caught a lot of stuff today and made almost every out,” Rymer said. “They did tremendous today, so I’m very proud.”

It was scoreless through four innings as both teams just managed one hit each.

In the top of the fifth, Carey got on the board with three runs.

Chelsea Schlack started things off with a walk and moved to second on a passed ball and to third on a sacrifice. Makenzie Wentling drove her in on a fielder’s choice with Schlack beating the throw to the plate.

After a strikeout, Taylor Fletcher singled, scoring Wentling. Two walks later and the bases were juiced for Rymer, who worked a full count before drawing the run-scoring walk. Farmer then picked up a strikeout to end the threat.

Riverdale threatened with two runners on in both the fifth and sixth inning, but could not push anything across.

Carey meanwhile picked up a couple of insurance runs in the top of the seventh. With two outs, Rymer drew another walk and then pinch hitter Presley Elchert delivered a single right up the middle. Schlack then belted Carey’s only extra base hit of the game, a double to left that scored two.

“Before that, Presley Elchert had a huge at-bat for us. She came in off the bench and the first time at the plate with two outs. A lot of pressure on her,” Jacoby said. “She had a base hit to get on and that allowed Chelsea to come up behind her and get that nice gap shot for us.”

Four times through the order was enough for Schlack to pick out just the right pitch.

“I just was paying careful attention to all the pitches and seeing where they were going and waiting for the right pitch to get the timing right on those,” Schlack said. “It felt good.”

It was those timely hits that did in Riverdale.

“The total difference in the game was they got the two-out hits. We’ve been getting the two-out hits all year,” Swavel said. “We didn’t get them tonight. I think we had three different situations with runners in scoring position and didn’t get the big hit like we’d been getting all year.”

It was all the help Rymer needed as she slammed the door with a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the seventh.

“That’s a great team right there. Two great teams,” Swavel said. “They were better than us tonight.”

Carey and New Riegel will play at 5 p.m. Friday at Kenton High School for the district title.

“It’s just another game. We have to play our game, like tonight: good, solid defense, great pitching,” Jacoby said. “We’ll give it our best.”