Hacker shuts down New Riegel

PHOTO BY STEVE WILLIAMS Carey’s Blayc Hacker fires a pitch during Wednesday’s Division IV district semifinal against New Riegel in Findlay.

FINDLAY – The talent and experience Carey possesses was evident Wednesday in a Division IV district softball matchup with New Riegel at the Marathon Diamonds.

From the first pitch, Carey senior Blayc Hacker kept New Riegel’s batters off-balance with a nasty changeup and the Blue Devils got some timely hits for a 7-0 victory.

The Blue Devils (19-6) will face North Baltimore today at 5 p.m. for the district title.

“It was a good game for us,” Carey coach Teresa Gillig said. “Everything came together, defense, offense … they played a great game today. This was one of our better games, so hopefully we keep taking this with us every game in the tournament with us.

“Blayc pitched a great game, played great defense behind her and then the timely hits.”

Hacker struck out the first New Riegel hitter of the game and the Blue Jackets went down in order in the first. Carey failed to get a run in the first inning, but struck in the second.

Felicite Smith hit a single. After two outs, Bridget Mullholand lined a single up the middle to score courtesy runner Alli Kimberlin from third for Carey’s first run.

The Blue Devils weren’t done.

In the third, Mary Racheter started the frame with a bloop single to right. She scored on a wild throw to first on a grounder by Bry Curlis. Hailey Niedekohr singled, and then after two outs, Hannah Lonsway drove a line drive off the second baseman’s glove to score two more runs as the Blue Devils led 4-0 after three innings.

“I’m kinda mad we didn’t play our best game obviously, and we had to to beat them,” New Riegel coach Jamie Lininger said. “Just didn’t do little things right, which has been haunting us this season. We hit the ball like we have the last week or so where we were getting jammed a lot and not making adjustments.

“That’s a good team, a good pitcher. Maybe we can find one to transfer into New Riegel next year.”

The Upper Sandusky transfer was dealing as she took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. She gave up just two hits and struck out five in a complete game.

“I had some good defense behind me and we hit the ball really well. We were solid all the way around. It was good,” Hacker said. “I was a little bit off. I wish my speed would have been better, but I had a good defense behind me, so it didn’t matter.

“I’ve been working on (the changeup) a lot.”

The changeup was effective all game long, keeping New Riegel hitters off-balance and way out front.

“We are pretty pathetic when it comes to swinging at changeups, we have to correct that a bit, but sometimes we look bad at the plate on changeups,” Lininger said. “She had a nice one, she moved the ball around a lot. She’s a good pitcher. We didn’t hit her very well.

“We didn’t have too many strikeouts, but we didn’t hit the ball hard at all. I think we only had maybe one or two balls that were hit hard.”

Carey got two more runs in the fifth frame when Niederkohr walked, Hacker singled up the middle and Smith followed suit to score Niederkohr and Lonsway grounded out to short, which brought in courtesy runner Alaina Tiell. The Blue Devils added one more run in the sixth when Caitie Carter scored on an error.

Julia Reinhart singled to left in the sixth inning and then Brianna Gillig smoked a double to left for New Riegel’s two hits.

Jacquelyn Lininger suffered the loss, allowing six runs (three earned) on eight hits with four strikeouts in five innings of work.

“We expect to get past the district semifinals and win the league and we kind of didn’t do either (this year),” Jamie Lininger said. “It wasn’t a bad year. We finished 18-9 and I think at one point we were 9-8 maybe.

“We played some good teams and didn’t have to many teams on the schedule where you know you are gonna win 35-2 or something like that you see around here quite a bit. We got a good group of kids and hopefully we will come back at it strong next year.”

Carey did beat North Baltimore this season in a wild 21-12 victory.

“They’ve been here before, they know the atmosphere and what it’s like, but I told them they have to focus on one game at a time,” Gillig said. “Anything can happen in tournaments and you have to bring your best game everyday and can’t let up. It’s one game at a time.”

Also, with a win over Wynford Wednesday, Bucyrus shared the Northern Athletic Conference with Carey as both teams finished 13-3.