PDT Sports Writer
LANCASTER — For the second time in three seasons, the Valley Lady Indian softball team’s plans of playing in Akron were ended in the regional finals.
Valley committed five errors Saturday afternoon, which lead to all three Bloom-Carroll runs of the game to be unearned in a 3-0 loss for the Lady Indians in a Division III Regional Championship at Lancaster High School.
“At this level, one mistake will cost you a ball game,” Valley coach Montie Spriggs said.
The Lady Indians had a hard time figuring out Lady Bulldog starter Taran Alvelo. The freshman, who moved from Scioto County before this season, recorded 12 strikouts against two walks in a two-hit shutout.
“Good pitching will stop good hitting,” Spriggs said. “Today we just didn’t hit the ball well and credit to her, Taran throws the ball well.”
Bloom-Carroll took the only lead needed in the game with a two-out rally in the third. After Haley Starr and Sommer Althaus reached on an error and single respectively, Abby Grover hit a single to right.
The ball went through the legs of Elysia Montgomery and allowed Starr and Althaus to score. Valley starter Braiden Dillow was able to strike Alvelo out to put an end to the damage.
Kayla Koch ended Alvelo’s no-hit bid in the fourth with a two-out double. She was 1-for-3 on the day.
The best chance for the Lady Indians to score came in the top of the sixth. With two outs, Mari Malizio launched a ball to left center field with hopes of a three-run home run.
But Brittney Sweeney got a beat on the ball just in time to snag the out just feet from the wall.
“She hit the ball well and if would’ve been five more feet, it would’ve been out of here,” Spriggs said. “It wasn’t so we just have to go with that.”
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, the Lady Bulldogs added an insurance run when Erica Smith singled right back up the box and was lifted for courtesy runner Morgan Sells. After a Dillow wild pitch moved Sells to second, Ashley Webb’s throw back to the pitcher went into center field and the throw home was also errant, allowing Sells to score.
Dillow struck out six and walked one while going 0-for-3 at the plate in her final game wearing a Valley uniform. She will be going off to Bowling Green State University in the fall to pitch for the Lady Falcons after recording close to 75 wins in her high school career.
“She’s a special kid,” Spriggs said. “She’s a warrior on the mound, she never quits no matter what happens, how bad it goes, she never quits.”
Senior Courtney Crabtree was 0-for-2 on the day. Spriggs feels she grew leaps and bounds in her first year of playing since the age of six.
“She’s done a tremendous job for us,” Spriggs said.
The Lady Indians also lose Katie Goins. A four-year player, Spriggs described her as the cheerleader of the team.
“When things are going bad, she’s always the one that’s saying get up and go,” Spriggs said. “I’ll miss all three in their own way.”
“You’ve got to be very pleased with what the seniors have done this year and actually all of the girls,” Spriggs said. “They’ve battled all year long, they’ve done a great job.”
Although the perfect season came to an end, Spriggs told his team one piece of information.
“Unless you win the state championship, your last career game is going to be a loss,” Spriggs said. “They had nothing to hang their head about because that’s a pretty good team over there.”
The last regional final appearance for Valley came in 2010 when the Lady Indians were edged by Piketon.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or email@example.com.
Valley 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 2 5
Bloom-Carroll 0 0 2 0 0 1 x — 3 4 0
Valley — Richard 0-2 (BB), Koch 1-3 (2B), Webb 0-2 (BB), Conley 1-3.
Bloom-Carroll — Starr 0-2 (BB, R), Althaus 1-2 (SAC, R), Grover 1-3 (RBI), Smith 1-3, Reis 1-3, Sells 0-0 (R).
W — Alvelo (27-2)
L — Dillow (25-1)
Records — Valley 26-1; Bloom-Carroll 28-3.