Clay rallies past Lady Vikings
PICKERINGTON — The third time wasn’t anything like the first two.
The Symmes Valley Lady Vikings and Portsmouth Clay Lady Panthers split their regular season games in a couple of pitcher’s duels, 3-2 and 3-1.
But Thursday’s Division IV regional tournament semifinal game proved to be nothing like those meetings as Clay scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to win 9-8.
“If you had told me we would score eight runs, I’d have thought our chances of winning were pretty good,” said Lady Vikings’ coach Jeff “Odie” Estep.
The Lady Vikings hurt themselves with five errors including two in Clay’s winning rally.
“That was as tough of a loss as I’ve been associated with at that level,” said Estep. “There were a lot of little things that didn’t go our way earlier in the game that could have made a difference. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Symmes Valley jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
Jessie Morris singled to start the game and Brooke Skinner singled an out later. Both moved up on a wild pitch, Chelsea Wall had an RBI single and Erica Corn followed with a sacrifice fly.
Clay got a run in the bottom of the inning when Marissa Messer singled, stole second and scored on a two-out hit by Tori Osborne.
The Lady Panthers tied the game in the second when Lyndsey Mader reached on an error, Jocee Hughes singled, Alison Castle had a sacrifice bunt and a throwing error on the play scored Mader.
The Vikings rallied for three runs in the third inning to lead 5-2 when Kayla Ross crashed a home run over the left field fence after walks to Wall and Corn.
But Clay came back with three runs in the fourth.
Castle and Messer hit a two-run homer. Keely Craft then doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a hit by Osborne.
Symmes Valley took the lead with a run in the fifth.
Nikki Nance reached on an error, Skinner put down a sacrifice bunt, a fielder’s choice sent Nance to third base where she scored on a wild pitch.
The Lady Vikings got a run in the sixth to lead 7-5.
Ross singled, Brittany Foster had a sacrifice bunt and Morris was safe on an error with Ross coming around to score.
Symmes Valley got its final run in the top of the seventh.
Nance singled to lead off, Skinner was safe on an error but Nance was thrown out trying to steal third base. Wall followed with a base hit and Skinner scored.
Then came the decisive bottom of the inning.
Holly Hempill and Osborne walked to start the inning and Mariah Tackett singled for a run.
Mader singled to score Osborne and then Hughes was safe on an error that allowed two runs to score and end the game.
Symmes Valley finished the season 24-6.
“This was a good group of seniors. They’ll be hard to replace,” said Estep.
Clay (23-7) will play Strasburg Franklin at 1 p.m. Saturday in the regional finals.
Sym. Valley 203 011 1 = 8 9 5
Ports. Clay 110 300 4 = 9 11 6
Erica Corn (3.1 IP, 3-K, 2-BB, 6-H, 5-R), Nikki Nance (3.2, 0-K, 2-BB, 5-H, 4-R) and Chelsea Wall. Lyndsey Mader (9-K, 4-BB) and Alison Castle. W-Mader. L-Nance. 2B-Clay: Keely Craft. HR-SV: Kayla Ross; Clay: Marissa Messer. Hitting-Symmes Valley: Chelsea Wall 2-3, Kayla Ross 2-4, Brianna Foster 1-2, Brooke Skinner 1-3, Nikki Nance 1-4, Jessie Morris 1-4; Clay: Marissa Messer 2-4, Tori Osborne 2-2, Mariah Tackett 2-4, Lyndsey Mader 1-4, Jocee Hughes 1-4, Alison Castle 1-4, Emily Spriggs 1-4, Keely Craft 1-4.