October 21, 2014

Elyria
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Division III regional softball: ‘Strange’ first inning costs Wellington against Youngstown Ursuline


TODAY’S REGIONAL SOFTBALL GAMES

Division I

WHO: Elyria vs. Brecksville
TIME: 3:30 p.m.
WHERE: Clyde H.S.

Division II

WHO: Keystone vs. Toledo Central Catholic
TIME: 5 p.m.
WHERE: Bucyrus H.S.

♦ Both games were rained out Thursday.

MASSILLON – A few occurrences not often seen during Wellington`s softball season happened on Thursday.
“There were no wild pitches all season,” Wellington coach Tom Roth said. “There might have been one passed ball.”
There were two passed balls and a wild pitch in the first inning for the Dukes, and they played a big part in Wellington`s 2-1 loss to Youngstown Ursuline in a Division III regional semifinal at Genshaft Park.
Cassie Gleisner, a University of Akron recruit, allowed two infield singles in the first inning – the only hits she gave up – to Kasey Foley and Sarah Ingalls and watched both runners advance as a high, outside pitch eluded catcher Melissa Rennie.
The same pitch, with the same result, brought Foley to home plate. The wild pitch skipped under Rennie and got Ursuline`s second run across.
“It`s frustrating,” Roth said. “Two hits that didn`t leave the infield, a check swing that would`ve been the third out and then a little riser that pops out (of the catcher`s mitt).”
A check swing that was called a ball on a 1-2 pitch to Miranda Cardiko would`ve gotten the Dukes out of the inning had the ruling been that she went too far with her bat.
“The curveball got away from me,” Gleisner said. “The screwball was in the dirt. I will take the blame. I don`t know what else to do.”
The loss ended Wellington`s season at 21-7. The defeat also meant the last game for both Gleisner and Roth. The coach announced he would retire after 23 years coaching the Dukes.
“I`m still on the field,” Roth said. “It will hit me when I walk off. I`ll miss it. It has been such a big part of who I am.”
The victory sent Ursuline (25-5) to the championship game Saturday against Northwestern. The Irish are seeking their first-ever regional title.
But it wasn`t just first-inning wildness that doomed the Dukes.
“Somebody always comes through with a hit,” Roth said.
That didn`t happen Thursday. The Dukes had only two hits, both by Megan Auble, and left seven runners stranded. Wellington had runners on second and third in the fourth inning. It had first and second with one out in the fifth.
Casey Lower, Ursuline`s junior all-state pitcher, always managed to find a way to wiggle out of trouble. Wellington`s only run was scored on a throwing error.
“It`s frustrating.” Roth said. “We know we`re good enough to be playing on Saturday.”
Also frustrating was a one-hour, 22-minute rain delay. Lower had thrown eight pitches and retired two Wellington batters when the downpour started.
“Definitely,” Gleisner said when asked if the interruption affected the Dukes. “Our team wasn`t ready to go (when play resumed). We were excited to play when we got here. We had to get excited again.”
“You can`t use it as an excuse,” Roth said. “Both teams played under the same conditions. It was just frustrating.”
Gleisner settled down after the opening inning. She yielded only three baserunners and didn`t let a runner get past first base the final five innings. She walked two and struck out 12, while Lower walked four and struck out seven.
Auble led off Wellington`s third with a single and went to second on Morgan Brasee`s bunt. But Lower struck out Brooke Lewis and got Gleisner to pop up to first base.
Callie McConnell and Jackie Bankston walked with one away in the fourth. Courtney Echstenkamper sacrificed them to second and third, but Shelby Monschein struck out on a 2-2 pitch.
Auble doubled to begin Wellington`s fifth. Lewis hit a groundball to shortstop that Anna Donko threw high to first, letting pinch runner Maddison Pickworth score.
The Dukes` last chance came when Lewis reached on an error with two gone in the seventh. But Lower induced Gleisner to fly out to right field on a 1-1 pitch to end the game.
Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.