The Dragons went to Flushing in hopes of winning another district title, but they would fall short with a tough loss in the Championship game to Kearsley ending their 2013 season.
Swartz Creek 11 Flushing 0
The district semi-final started out a little slow, but Creek was in control the entire game getting the win by the run rule in 5 innings.
In the top of the 1st Hayley Cruthers led off with a triple. Coach Clolinger called for a suicide squeeze bunt that Hailey Fox performed perfectly surprising Flushing completely and beating out the throw for a bunt single. Cruthers scored easily while Fox advanced to 2nd on a late errant throw. Lauren Black walked putting runners on 1st and 2nd.
What happened next is still unclear to me, because I'm not sure what the umpires decided, so I'll attempt to explain it. AJ Brookman hit a low-soft pop-up just beyond the actual 2nd base on the edge of the grass. The runners could not advance, because they thought it would be caught. And it remains debatable whether the infield fly rule should have been called. It was not however as the ball was dropped by the 2nd baseman. She threw the ball to 3rd for the force out and the 3rd baseman returned it to the 2nd baseman for the double-play at 2nd. After another out the inning ended with Creek up 1-0.
Carah Pletscher took the mound for Creek. An error and wild pitch put a runner into scoring position, but she would be stranded.
Lauren Adas and Jamie Perigo led off the 2nd with back-to-back walks. Ashley Dusseau hit into a fielder's choice that forced out Adas at 3rd. A ground out by Hanna Sayles moved the runners to 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs. Cruthers received what would be the 1st of 3 straight intentional walks to load the bases. Hailey Fox walked to score Perigo. But, the Dragons would leave the bases loaded with a 2-0 lead.
Flushing got a base runner on a walk in the bottom of the 2nd, but would not score.
Brookman led off the 3rd with a walk. Pletscher doubled to score Brookman. Tabby Miller came into courtesy run. Adas walked. Miller and Adas moved to 2nd and 3rd on a passed ball. Perigo walked to load the bases. Dusseau hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Miller and move Adas to 3rd. Sayles walked to load the bases. And then Cruthers was intentionally walked again scoring Adas. Fox reached base on a fielder's choice that forced out Perigo at the plate with the bases still loaded and 2 outs. They too would be stranded with Black hitting a hard line drive right to the center fielder for the 3rd out, but the Dragons were now leading 5-0.
Flushing threatened to score in the bottom of the 3rd with runners on the corners on a walk and error, but they would be stranded.
With 2 outs in the top of the 4th Adas ripped a double. She advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch. Perigo was walked, then stole 2nd on the next pitch in which Adas stole home on the throw to 2nd. The inning came to an end with the Dragons up 6-0.
Phoebe Cross came into pitch for Creek in the bottom of the 4th. Flushing got their first hit of the game, but she would be stranded after a couple of strikeouts and pop-out to 1st.
Sayles led off the top of the 5th with a walk. Cruthers followed with another intentional walk. Fox beat out another bunt with Sayles scoring on an errant throw by the pitcher, Cruthers moving to 3rd, and Fox down to 2nd. Black reache base on an error with Cruthers and Fox unable to advance to load the bases. Brookman walked to score Cruthers. Pletscher singled to score Fox and Black, while advancing to 2nd on the throw. Miller came into courtesy run. Adas singled to score Brookman. And that would be it for the scoring as the Dragons took an 11-0 lead into the bottom of the 5th.
Flushing began the 5th with a walk, but she was caught stealing on a throw from Adas to Cruthers. The next batter singled, but would not score as the next 2 batters would strike out to end the game.
Pletscher pitched 3 innings allowing no hits with 6 strikeouts and 2 walks. Cross pitched 2 innings with 4 strikeouts, 2 hits, and a walk.
Cruthers was 1-1 with a Triple, 3 intentional walks, and scored twice with an RBI. Fox had 2 hits, scored, walked, and had 2 RBIs. Adas had 2 hits including a Double, 2 walks, scored twice, and had an RBI. Perigo had 3 walks and scored. Brookman had 2 walks, an RBI, and scored twice. Pletscher had 2 hits including a Double with 3 RBIs.
Kearsley 1 Swartz Creek 0
The championship game was a tough way to end the season with the Dragons out-hitting Kearsley, but could not get the timely hit stranding 9 runners proving to be the difference in the game.
Cruthers led off the game with a Double followed by a sacrifice bunt by Fox which moved her to 3rd. Black hit a fly ball to shallow right field with Cruthers being thrown out at the plate quickly ending the scoring chance.
Pletscher pitched for the Dragons. Kearsley would not score in the bottom of the 1st either.
With 1 out in the top of the 2nd Pletscher doubled. Miller came into courtesy run. Adas walked. But, they would be stranded.
Kearsley would get what would prove to be the winning run in the bottom of the 2nd on a lead off single, sacrifice bunt, another single, and ground out to 2nd base.
Sayles singled to lead off the 3rd for Creek. With 1 out she stole 2nd base. But, she would be stranded.
The defensive play of the day was made in the bottom of the 3rd with Cruthers making a diving catch in shallow center field on bloop hit just over the 2nd base.
Brookman led off the 4th with a Double. A ground out by Pletscher moved her to 3rd with 1 out. Perigo walked with 2 outs, but again the Dragons would fail to score.
The next scoring threat would come in the top of the 6th with Black leading off with a single. Cross came into pinch run. Brookman followed with a single. Pletscher reached base on a fielder's choice that forced out Brookman at 2nd and moved Cross to 3rd. Miller came into courtesy run quickly stealing 2nd. Adas was walked to load the bases. And unfortunately they too would all be stranded.
Sayles led off the 7th inning getting hit by a pitch. With 1 outs Fox doubled moving Sayles to 3rd. Black hit a fly ball to right field for the 2nd out with Sayles tagging up and heading home. She was thrown out at the plate as the Dragons season would come to an end.
Pletscher pitched the entire game allowing 1 earned run on 5 hits with 4 strike outs.
Brookman had 2 hits including a Double. Cruthers, Fox, and Pletscher also had a Double each. Black and Sayles had a hit apiece. Adas had 2 walks. Perigo also walked.
Although the 2013 season is now officially over, there will be additional articles published over the next couple of weeks about the softball awards banquet, a records updates, and other miscellaneous announcements.