Taylor Keen hit a two-RBI double and Evans took a no-hitter into the sixth inning as West won its eighth Division III district title in 10 years, 2-1 over Fairland on Saturday at Valley High School.
Green's baseball team also played at Valley High School on Saturday. After a week of rain delays, the Bobcats played in their second district game in as many days, falling to Trimble 11-6.
Leading 2-0 after five innings, West made two errors that nearly cost the Senators the lead.
The Dragons' Allison Hager led off the sixth by reaching on a throwing error. Then Mackenzie Rucker broke up Evans' no-hitter with Fairland's only hit, a single that sent Hager to second. Kirstin Midkiff followed with a bunt that was fielded cleanly by West catcher Sam Page, but her throw to third sailed into left field.
Hager rounded third and Current scooped up the errant toss and gunned Hager down at home by about five feet.
“If I missed, she would have gotten home,” Current said. “A bunch of stuff was going through my mind. I just threw it.”
Fairland (28-2) scored its only run when the next batter grounded out and Rucker scored.
Evans walked a batter in the seventh but got the next three outs to send West back to the regional tournament.
“I ride their hind ends and they play hard,” West coach Daryl Brickey said. “When they do things we work on in practice, like Lynne's play, it's so special.”
That the game turned on a defensive play wasn't surprising. Both teams played solid defense behind their pitchers. The Dragons took at least one hit away from West (25-3), a diving grab by the leftfielder, and several Senator rips were right at a Fairland player.
“Fairland played good defense against us,” Brickey said. “They had a good ball team. I understand how they were 28-1.”
West broke through in the third inning when Charlee Graf tripled to center for the Senators' first hit. After an out, Current reached on a fielder's choice when Auxier, the Fairland pitcher, picked up Current's roller, looked to third, first and back to third without making a throw. A batter later, Keen smoked a double to center, clearing the bases.
“I wanted to make something happen,” Keen said. “I would rather be in that situation than 10-run ruling them. You have to dig down deep.”
It was no accident that the second time through the order Auxier found outs a little more difficult to come by. Brickey said he came into the game with the plan to entice her into throwing strikes by taking plenty of pitches early in the game.
“They knew we were taking, so they started grooving (pitches),” he said. “When we came through again, we let them go.”
West advances to play Bishop Ready on Wednesday at Lancaster. Ready knocked West out last season in the regional finals, 4-3.
“We knew if we won this game today it was a huge game,” Keen said. “We're together and today was the most ready I've seen us.”
In the other district final at Valley High School, Green didn't so much succumb to Trimble as the weather. Repeated delays forced the Bobcats to play two games in two days, meaning senior ace Odie Kelly didn't start Saturday's contest on the mound.
Kelly had 112 pitches in a complete-game, 5-0 victory over Whiteoak on Friday. OHSAA rules do not allow pitchers to throw more than 10 innings in a two-day span.
“Our plan was to go four innings and bring him back,” Green coach David Shope said. “I'm so proud of Odie wanting to come back and want the ball. One bad inning did us in.”
To start, Green looked to be in control, scoring six runs in the first two innings, building a 6-4 advantage.
In the first and second innings Kelly and Derek Lewis set the table, beginning each inning with a single and sac bunt. Randy Ratcliff grounded out for an RBI in the second inning and Brian Ramey had a pair of RBI singles.
Cody Stapleton added a two-RBI single in the first inning.
After the initial outburst, the Bobcat lumber went cold.
Trimble scored seven runs in the fifth inning on two hits and a pair of Bobcat errors.
Green wouldn't score again, despite threatening in the seventh inning. Stapleton led off with a double and a throwing error by Trimble's third baseman put runners on first and third. The Bobcats then went strikeout-pop out-strikeout to end the scoring threat.
Green is 15-5-1 and isn't done yet. The Bobcats play Eastern Pike on Tuesday at home.
“What a wonderful year,” Shope said. “This group of seniors have played and been the program. What a wonderful group to set that tone. Our young kids have followed in their footsteps.”
Green loses six seniors: Kelly, Ramey, Lewis, Brad Dehart, John Dawson and Justin Robinson.
JASON R. CRISLER can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 242 or at email@example.com.
Fairland 000 001 0 - 1 1 0
West 002 000 X - 2 3 2
WP: Kayla Evans; LP: Megan Auxier
Fairland - Mackenzie Rucker 1-3, R; Megan Auxier RBI.
West - Taylor Keen 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Charlee Graf 1-2, 3B, R; Current R; Taylor Messer 1-2.
Records - West 25-3; Fairfield 28-2.
Trimble 040 700 0 - 11 8 2
Green 330 000 0 - 6 8 2
WP: Dixon; LP: John Dawson
Green - Odie Kelly 2-5; Brian Ramey 2-4; Brad Dehart 2-4; Cody Stapleton 1-4 2B; Matt Clarke 1-4
Record - Green 15-5-1