NR edged out of regionals

FINDLAY – Five days earlier, New Riegel mashed three home runs in the district final.

A new week.

A new location.

A new pitcher.

A new result.

On Wednesday night in a Division IV regional semifinal at the The Cube, the Blue Jackets ran into a buzzsaw named Addison Baumle, who held the Blue Jackets’ potent offense to just three singles.

Wayne Trace had just one more hit but it was a big one, a two-out double in the bottom of the sixth to give the Raiders the only run it needed in a 1-0 victory.

“I thought it would take more runs than one because they’re just a hitting team,” Wayne Trace coach Jack Baumle said. “We were lucky. They didn’t make real good contact. It was just a great game, defensive game, both sides. The pitching was fantastic on both sides.”

The loss ended the No. 3 ranked team in the state’s season at 25-5.

“It’s a good team and a good game. We haven’t been involved in too many 1-0 games this year,” New Riegel coach Jamie Lininger said. “Good pitching beat good hitting. We just couldn’t get a timely hit when we needed one there.”

Things were looking troubling for the Blue Jackets before the game even started as the wind was blowing in from the outfield, and as play started, any balls that flew out of the outfield were quickly hung up, putting a damper on the slugging New Riegel bats.

“When the wind blows in, it’s kind of what I figured,” Lininger said. “I didn’t want the wind blowing in.”

Both teams struggled to put anything together.

Kirian (24-5) was equally tough for the Raider hitters, scattering four hits and striking out two, while walking none.

In the third, New Riegel picked up its first hits of the game with back-to-back singles by Morgan Noftz and Taylor Kirian. With second and third and two outs, Taylor Arbogast bunted but was narrowly thrown out to end the threat.

“I didn’t like Taylor’s at-bat the first time up and I kind of thought our odds were for her to beat out a bunt,” Lininger said. “You hate to have a .400 hitter bunt with runners on second and third but it works a lot of time and Taylor is a good bunter.”

Outside of one error, both teams’ bats were silent until the bottom of the sixth.

Mackenzie Swary, the No. 9 hitter for the Raiders (21-7), hit a Texas League single that found the grass just beyond the infield. A sacrifice bunt moved her to second before a long fly ball to right field allowed her to tag up and move to third.

The extra base wasn’t necessary though as Libby Stabler smoked a double into the left field corner, scoring Swary.

“Clutch,” coach Baumle said. “Libby is not a power hitter for us but she’s a contact hitter and she’ll put the ball in play. She’s been doing a great job for us and that was just clutch. That was just phenomenal. Great to see a senior come through like that.”

Bailey Bergman followed with a single and Stabler tried to score but was gunned out at the plate thanks to the rifle throw of Lauren Zoeller and excellent positioning by Arbogast at the plate.

That left New Riegel with three outs to keep the game and its season alive.

Kara Scherger singled to center to start off the inning and a pitch later was standing on second with a stolen base. Zoeller hit a ground ball to the shortstop Emilie Linder, who bobbled the ball, leaving Zoeller safe at first and Scherger at second.

After a botched bunt attempt turned into a pop out and a line out to center field, Lininger called for the double steal and it left New Riegel with second and third with two outs but the game ended on Baumle’s eighth strikeout of the night.

“If you would have told us that we would come in here and shut New Riegel out, I’d have said you were crazy,” coach Baumle said.

Baumle (12-4) said she wasn’t afraid of the team across the field.

“We didn’t want to pitch around them. We take that as admitting defeat beforehand so we just pitch right to them and make them hit our pitch,” the Raiders’ hurler said.

“She was a nice pitcher. She moved the ball around and we chased a lot of bad pitches,” Lininger said.

The loss ended the careers for six seniors for New Riegel, including four starters (Kirian, Noftz, Zoeller and Brittany Gillig) as well as designated players Lauren Ladd and Ruthann Schreiner.

“It’s the winningest senior class in New Riegel history. We’re going to miss them. There’s great players there,” Lininger said. “We have some nice juniors to step up. It’s disappointing. If we were going to have a chance to win (the state championship), it was this year. These younger girls are really going to have to step up to fill the shoes of the girls they’re replacing.”

Wayne Trace moves on to face the winner of Lakota and Patrick Henry, who play today at 5, back at The Cube. The regional final will be Saturday at noon.