May 25, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Regional Softball: Big blast by Carly Bachna sends Elyria back to Final Four

CLYDE — When freshman Carly Bachna went to bat in the sixth inning Saturday, Elyria had runners on first and second with no outs.
Bachna had orders. She could swing at one pitch, but she was told to bunt if she failed to connect with the swing.
She connected.
She blasted the first pitch over the left-field fence for a three-run homer, her sixth, sending seniors Patty Davis and Alexis Roseboro home ahead of her. The shot broke a 1-1 tie and propelled the third-ranked Pioneers to a 4-1 regional final victory over Oregon Clay.
It also sent Elyria (26-5) into the Division I Final Four for the seventh time in eight years. At 12:30 p.m. Thursday, the Pioneers will be the visiting team in Akron’s Firestone Stadium against unranked Mason (23-7), which beat No. 2 Lebanon 1-0.
Elyria has defeated Mason twice in state semifinals, 2-1 in 2007 and 11-2 in 2008.
Bachna said the one-swing-and-bunt order is nothing new.
“The last time I hit a home run that’s what happened,” she said. “(Coach Ken Fenik) told me the same thing last time and I hit it.”
Fenik confirmed the plan.
“I said I thought we should bunt and move (Davis and Roseboro) to third and second,” Fenik said. “But Jocelyn (assistant coach Fada) said, ‘No, give her one pitch, then she can bunt.’ So we said to Bachna, ‘OK, you got one pitch to swing at, then bunt on the next pitch.’ But she jacked it and I said to Jocelyn, ‘Yeah, good call.’”
Bachna isn’t surprised the team is heading to state.
“This is awesome,” she said. “I really did think we had the potential to do this. We are a big family and a great team. We stay focused all the time and that’s good.”
It was a fitting coincidence that Roseboro was on base when Bachna connected. Roseboro’s solo blast to straightaway center field in the fourth inning put the Pioneers up 1-0.
It was her second homer of the season.
“I don’t know what the pitch was, but it was outside,” Roseboro said. “At first I didn’t think I hit it hard enough, that it was more like a popup. Then I heard Coach Fada say, ‘It’s over,’ as I was going around first and I got excited.”
The Pioneers got another strong pitching job from senior Caitlyn Minney. She pitched a three-hitter, struck out 10 and walked none. She improved to 21-3 on the season and her ERA dropped to 0.78.
Minney said she’s happy the Pioneers are back in the Final Four.
“I’m real excited,” she said. “It will be our (seniors) third time there. I hope we’ll be comfortable enough to come out playing the way we have been.”
Catcher Haley Looney said Minney was in good form.
“All her pitches were working,” Looney said. “She warmed up really well and she kept it up all day.”
Elyria managed just four hits off Brooke Gallaher, the Eagles’ junior right-hander.
“Two swings of the bat were the difference in that ballgame,” said Clay coach Brenda Radabaugh, whose Eagles finished 26-4. “We hit a couple of rough spots with leadoff walks, but the defense battled through that and we were able to handle it. So if it wasn’t for the two long balls, we’d still be going at it.”
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or