Warriors take down top-seeded Eagles; face Lucas again
SHELBY — Mohawk was dealt the task of facing one of the more dominant small-division pitchers in northwest Ohio Tuesday.
Monroeville’s Carley Helmstetter had allowed just nine earned runs in 118 1/3 innings while striking out over 200 batters.
The fourth-seeded Warriors pounded out 14 hits and defeated top-seeded Monroeville 10-3 in a Division IV district semifinal at Shelby.
With the win, Mohawk improved to 17-7 overall and will face second-seeded Lucas (15-6) at 5 p.m. Friday back at Shelby for the district championship.
“We knew (Helmstetter) was quick,” Mohawk coach Mindy Walton said. “The pitchers in the (Northern 10 Conference) are very, very good. We have been up against this kind of pitching all season long, so that really helped.”
Mohawk, after going down in order in the first inning, got its offense going in the second inning. Miranda Stallard singled and went to second on a groundout. Tess Weinandy was then hit by a pitch before Aubrie Harper laid down a bunt and reached first to load the bases.
Leeth then grounded out to second, but Stallard scored on the play. Next, Jordan Tyree pushed the count to 2-2 before roping a double to the centerfield fence, bringing in two more runs for a 3-0 lead.
The Eagles looked to quickly respond in the bottom half of the inning. With Brooke Kime at first, Jessica Hayes walked before Skiler Hershiser hit a ball to the left side of the infield. The Mohawk shortstop was called for interference, but Hershiser was out at first. With Kime at third and Hayes at second, Stanley laced a shot into right field, bringing both runners in and cutting the Warriors’ lead to 3-2.
“I do not think she struggled,” Monroeville coach Abe Helmstetter said of his junior daughter. “I think they can hit. I give them all the credit. She executed the pitches we asked her to. They hit them. They must have scouted us really well.”
In the third inning, Hannah Jordan and Stallard each singled and with two outs, Weinandy cranked her eighth home run of the season, pushing the Warriors’ lead to 6-2.
“(Weinandy) has been coming though this season,” Walton said. “Her batting has come a long way. Our whole lineup has come a long way. I feel like we are strong all the way through and that is what our goal was and what we were aiming for.”
That lead remained until the sixth inning. Sydnee Leeth and Madi Chester each singled. With Leeth at third, Grace Morehart laid down a sacrifice bunt, scoring Leeth. Jordan then doubled, bringing in Chester.
“We did a lot with two outs,” Walton said. “I don’t know why, but I am OK with that. That has been a consistent this season. We get two outs, then all of a sudden, we’re hitting, which I’m good with.”
In the seventh inning, Leeth doubled in a run and Tyree singled in Leeth for a 10-2 lead.
Monroeville got a run back in the bottom of the seventh inning. Hershiser was hit by a pitch before Morgan Stanley singled. Taylor Reer then singled, bringing in a run, but Payton Scheid fouled out to end the game.
“We could have showed more fight, but they definitely played better than we did,” Abe Helmstetter said. “That is basically the bottom line.”
Jordan consistently kept Monroeville offbalance with a variety of pitches. She gave up just four hits while striking out five.
“Her changeup kept us off balance,” Abe Helmstetter said. “We did not do much at the plate. We had four hits. You are not going to win many ballgames with four hits. Credit to Mohawk all the way. They played better than we did today and they are moving on.”
Walton said the work that Jordan has put in is what has allowed the Warriors to be successful.
“She is one of those pitchers where we go to practice and she goes home and pitches,” Walton said. “She is constantly on it and her pitches are moving well right now. She has the knowledge of the game and shows that when she pitches.”
Lucas topped Seneca East — a common opponent to Mohawk — in the second game, but Walton and the Warriors have their eyes set.
“We can’t overlook what’s coming next,” Walton said. “I told the girls it’s one game at a time. It’s one out at a time and one game at a time. We have to take it inning by inning because you can’t get down on yourself.”