Monroeville pounces on Mohawk late in 9-5 win
SHELBY — She had a feeling.
Mohawk coach Mindy Walton was watching her Warriors dominate top-seeded Monroeville for the third year in a row.
But then, it happened.
The Eagles erupted for nine runs in a span of 16 batters, shocking Mohawk 9-5 in a Division IV district semifinal at Shelby High School Tuesday.
“That has been our story all season,” Walton said. “We have that inning toward the end of the game. I hate to say it, but I was kind of waiting for it. I don’t want to think that way … I think it has to do a lot with out inexperience in the circle.”
The Warriors fell to 17-10 this season.
“We have a sophomore and a junior and this is their first year pitching,” Walton said. “We lost Hannah Jordan to graduation last year. I think it had a lot to do with that — being mentally prepared.”
The Eagles actually were being no-hit by Mohawk pitcher MaKenna Hurley before the bats woke up. Alex Carper and Payton Scheid each singled up the middle before Jessica Hayes roped a huge double into the outfield to get Monroeville on the board.
“Jessica Hayes was on the button the whole game,” Monroeville coach Abe Helmstetter said. “It was just the first couple, she hit them right at them. She was hitting the ball hard.”
Eagles’ pitcher Carley Helmstetter walked and courtesy runner Hannah Lyons moved to second and Hayes scored on a wild pitch. Lyons then stole third and scored when the throw went into the outfield. Skiler Hershiser and Callie Rosser each singled, but a popout ended the inning with the Eagles within a run.
“I thought maybe our bats took a little bit of rest there in the fifth and sixth innings when we really needed them to be alive,” Walton said. “We have a very young team and a lot of that comes with inexperience.”
The momentum carried into the sixth inning. Adelynn Kradlak walked and Lydia Landoll reached on a bunt single to start the inning. Kradlak advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on a wild pitch. After a strikeout, Scheid ripped a double to bring in Landoll for the Eagles’ first lead of the game.
Hayes and Helmstetter followed with singles to score another run. The amazing comeback was capped when Hershiser singled in two more runs, giving Monroeville the unpredictable 9-5 lead.
“It is like the monkey off my back,” coach Helmstetter said. “Mohawk is a great team. They are a quality program with a lot of tradition. We knew we had to fight to get past them.”
Helmstetter finished off the game, but not without another threat from the Warriors. Victoria Phillips doubled and Lauren Moyer singled, but Helmstetter induced a flyout to Carper in left field to end the game.
“I can not say anything negative about MaKenna,” Walton said. “She works her butt off. She is pitching three or four days a week outside of practice. She is always thinking about softball.”
Mohawk jumped on the Eagles early. Monroeville committed a pair of errors, but Helmstetter faced a runner on third with two outs when Moyer singled for the first run of the game. Jordan Tyree ripped a double to score Moyer before a single from Madi Chester made it 3-0.
“In the first couple of innings, we were hitting right off of (Helmstetter)” Walton said. “I was proud of our at-bats. We saw a lot of pitches and worked the pitcher. We were doing a great job up there.”
In the third inning, Aubrie Harper took the first pitch she saw and cranked it over the fence for her 10th home run of the season — extending the single-season record for Mohawk. In the fourth, Hurley singled in Chester, who had reached on a bunt single for a 5-0 advantage.
“Carley executed great pitches after that home run,” coach Helmstetter said. “She tried to keep them off balance. Mohawk can hit.”
The Warriors made Helmstetter work throughout. She threw 29 and 28 pitches in the first and second innings, respectively. Her lowest inning until the seventh was a 15-pitch fourth inning.
“They made Carley work,” coach Helmstetter said of his daughter. “We expected Mohawk’s discipline at the plate. They understand the game of softball. We knew we were in a battle.”
Hurley allowed nine runs on nine hits. She walked four and tossed 121 pitches in five-plus innings.
“We had the same idea in our minds,” said Walton, referring to Mohawk’s 10-3 win over Monroeville in the same round last year. “I think, honestly, we are a little stronger hitting team this year.”