PDT Sports Writer
LANCASTER — Expectations on the West Side in softball were subdued this season.
With last year’s starting battery combination of Lexey Kegley and Cheyanne White skipping this season, Phil Ridout’s ball club was filled with a bevy of underclassmen with just two seniors to look up for leadership. So Ridout turned to juniors Abby Welch and Kayla Webb to be the pitcher-catcher combination to fill the void and build upon what could be a prosperous 2013 campaign.
“We figured that we really had a lot of battling to do and we’d be really be young,” Ridout said.
But with the Lady Senators playing in Wednesday’s Division III Regional Semifinal game at Lancaster High School, West looked to be a year ahead of schedule. That progress came to an end as Bloom-Carroll starting pitcher Taran Alvelo faced the minimum and the Lady Bulldogs had two scoring innings to advance to Saturday’s final with a 5-0 decision.
“She’s a good pitcher, I’ll give her credit on that,” Ridout said. “That’s the best we’ve seen.”
Alvelo, a freshman who moved from Scioto County to Fairfield County over the past year, was dominant throughout the game. She struck out 16 batters (four looking) and yielded 14 balls the entire game.
Of the 14 pitches that weren’t strikes, five of them came in the opening inning as Alex Ridout was able to force the only three-ball count of the day.
“We preached it the last couple of days was to be patient, anything above the elbows let it go because she’s got a decent riseball,” Phil Ridout said. “They would get up there and they’re just so used to being so aggressive at the plate and wanting to hit.”
Webb recorded the only hit of the game for West in the second inning and was replaced with courtesy runner Megan Shupert. Kacie Callihan struck out three pitches later and Shupert was gunned down at second to essentially end the only threat created by the Lady Senators.
“I had to see what they would do,” Ridout said. “We still had to see what (catcher Erica Smith) could do.
“Megan’s probably one of the fastest girls in Southern Ohio…She can flat fly and if she gets thrown out through the transition from the pitcher to the catcher to second base, it’s got to be fast because she’s there.”
A pair of West errors in the top of the third created the first runs of the game for Bloom-Carroll as the Lady Bulldogs took the lead 3-0. In the top of the sixth, the same problem of two miscues in an inning created two more runs for Bloom Carroll to end the scoring.
“This team right here defensively, they don’t make them mistakes,” Ridout said.
Ridout agreed the thought of the pressure associated with the moment could have played a role to all of the defensive setbacks. He couldn’t tell until after the bus ride up to the field.
“If we’re on a bus ride and they’re quiet, they usually don’t play very well,” Ridout said. “It may have been nerves but it may not have been until after the first or second inning.”
Welch struck out one and walked one in the game, struggling to find comfort on the rubber throughout the game. Ridout was impressed with how she improved throughout the season in her first time playing since eighth grade.
Ridout was pleased with how his team grew up as the season grew longer. He will lose McKenzie Irwin and Kacie Callihan to graduation.
The Lady Bulldogs will play the winner of today’s Valley-Stubenville Central Catholic game in Saturday’s final. Bloom-Carroll’s campus is approximately 10 miles away from the game site.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or email@example.com.
Bloom-Carroll 0 0 3 0 0 2 0 — 5 8 0
West 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 1 5
Bloom-Carroll — Starr 2-3 (2B, SAC, R), Althaus 0-4 (R), Alvelo 1-4 (RBI, R), Smith 0-2 (BB, SAC), Reis 2-3 (BB, RBI, R), K. Detwiler 1-3 (R), Silvia 1-2, Ireland 1-3.
West — Webb 1-2.
W — Alvelo (26-2)
L — Welch (14-7)
Records — Bloom-Carroll 27-3; West 20-8.