Lady Red knock off Sailors in eight innings

By Josh Morgret

Sports Writer

BELLEVUE — In a matter of just minutes, Bellevue went from concern to pure jubilation.

The Lady Red trailed by a run headed into the eighth inning against Vermilion, but got big hits from their biggest players.

Sophia Pressler hit a game-tying home run before Raquelle Seamon had a walk-off single to give Bellevue a nail-biting 5-4 Division II district quarterfinal win over the Sailors.

“Our leadership won it,” Bellevue coach Walt Snyder said. “We were down a run going into the eighth inning and we have a senior hit a home run. It fired everybody up. We have great senior leadership.”

No. 2 seed Bellevue improved to 17-5 overall and will face third-seeded Ontario Tuesday at Edison at 6 p.m.

“We played a good team and we played well,” Vermilion coach Bill Matthews said. “There is nothing wrong with that. Our kids played really well today.”

Pressler’s game-tying home run came after she struck out, grounded out, and popped out in her previous three at-bats.

“The way Sophia goes, we usually go, hitting-wise,” Snyder said. “She is a complete player. She can bunt, slap, and hit for power. In a clutch situation, she is a clutch player.”

Maycie Buckner followed Pressler’s poke with a double to left field. Seamon battled Vermilion (6-15) pitcher Maggie Hoffman to a 2-2 count before singling into left field, scoring Buckner.

“Raquelle has come on in the last three weeks,” Snyder said. “She has been just hitting the ball hard. Every shot tonight was hit hard.”

The Sailors lead nearly the whole game before Bellevue tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. After a scoreless seventh inning, Gracie Frey singled with two outs in the eighth inning. Hoffman then rocketed a shot to the left field fence off of Bellevue pitcher Hannah Hill to score Frey. Corah Peterson followed with an infield single, but Hill got Erica Eschenauer to foul out, preventing any further damage.

Vermilion had chances to increase a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning. Jenna Graham singled, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Grace Payne then reached on an error before Maria Keller bunted for a single just in front of the plate. After a fielder’s choice, Hoffman scorched a low shot straight to centerfield. But, Pressler was there for the hot rocket catch, keeping the Lady Red within a run.

“If she does not catch that ball on the line drive, we are up a couple runs,” Matthews said. “That probably won the game for them.”

In the bottom half of the inning, Seamon led off with a double for an immediate threat. After a popout, Alex Fiske, a Kent State softball verbal commit, singled through the right side — her second game-tying hit of the game — scoring Seamon.

The Sailors got their runs early thanks in part to three Bellevue errors. In the first inning, Keller led off the game with a double over the head of Pressler in centerfield. Later, Peterson hit a ball to the left side of the infield, but the throw to first was high, allowing Keller to score.

In the third inning, Frey singled before Hoffman flied out. The pickoff throw attempt was high, giving Frey second base. Peterson singled and stole second with Eschenauer at bat. The throw back to home was high, allowing Frey to score and Peterson to scramble all the way to third base. Eschenauer then singled, bringing in Peterson and giving Vermilion a 3-1 lead.

“The first couple of innings, I thought we were going to give them the ball game,” Snyder said. “We straightened up and the leadership took over. These kids are a heck of a bunch and we don’t give up.”

Buckner walked with two outs in the third inning and scored on Seamon’s first double of the game, bringing Bellevue within 3-2.

Hoffman was excellent for most of the game against a potent Lady Red offense. She allowed nine hits and walked one, while striking out four.

“Maggie has not hardly pitched at all this year because she was hurt,” Matthews said. “She came back a week ago. Pitching is everything in this sport. With her in the circle, we are a different team.”

Hill allowed 15 hits, while walking one. She made the biggest pitches when she needed to, as Vermilion left 13 runners on base, including at least two runners in five of the eight innings.

“It is a tough and frustrating loss,” Matthews said. “I know our kids are resilient. Bellevue has a nice team.”