By MICHAEL BURWELL
ARCADIA — It was a hitter’s paradise for Thursday’s Division IV sectional softball final between Carey and Arcadia, although the weather was anything but ideal.
With cold, windy and rainy conditions, the two teams combined to hit seven home runs, including two grand slams, with the wind blowing out to left-center field from home plate as Carey outslugged the Redskins 13-9 at Hitchings Field in the Arcadia Community Park.
Carey blasted four home runs, including three in a four-batter span in the fourth inning, and Arcadia belted three homers.
“That was the most intense game with home runs, both sides,” Carey head coach Teresa Jacoby said. “We had one for our team all season and to come back with four today, we knew there was a possibility today with a shorter fence and our girls have been hitting long gap shots all year, so we knew that was a possibility.”
The Blue Devils (15-6) will face Riverdale, a 4-2 winner over Arlington on Thursday, in the district semifinals on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Kenton High School. The Redskins fell to 13-8 and while their postseason run ends, they still have a shot to earn a share of the Blanchard Valley Conference title if they beat Hardin Northern on Monday.
Trailing 5-3 after a four-run inning for Arcadia in the bottom of the third, Carey’s bats came to life as a light mist fell right into the face of the Redskins’ defense.
Dani Berardinelli-Clark and Ali Rymer started the fourth inning with back-to-back home runs to right field to tie the game at five, and after Haley Hoepf singled to right field, Chelsea Schlack crushed a two-run shot over the left field fence to give the Blue Devils a 7-5 lead. Carey batted around in the inning.
“It seemed like that inning that rain came, that mist, and we were out there a long time and when you’re out there a long time laboring, nothing good is going to happen,” Arcadia head coach David Spridgeon said.
Carey wasn’t done, though.
The Blue Devils sent eight batters to the plate in their five-run fifth inning, capped off by a grand slam from Abby Hall to extend their lead to 12-5.
With Ali Rymer pitching a near perfect fourth and fifth inning, allowing no hits and just one walk, Carey seemed in control. The Redskins, though, found new life in the sixth inning.
After Lizzie Coward drew a one-out walk, Courtney Cramer and Alisha Baird hit back-to-back singles to load the bases. Ashley Baird, the Redskins’ pitcher, helped her own cause with a grand slam to center field to cut Carey’s lead to 12-9.
“We battled back in that sixth inning. We got a grand slam, we’re right back in the game down three runs,” Spridgeon said.
Rymer got out of the jam, however, getting two groundouts to shortstop Hannah Draper over the next three batters to end the inning.
A run in the top of the seventh, in which Hoepf scored from third on an error, gave Carey a 13-9 lead. Rymer retired the Redskins in order in the bottom of the seventh to pick up her 14th win of the season.
“I think there was some other things we did not do so well today, and give Carey credit. They hit the ball, hit the snot out of the ball, and that’s gonna happen,” Spridgeon said.
Arcadia also got a pair of solo home runs from Molly Glick in the second inning to tie the game at one, and from Cramer in the third to cut Carey’s lead to 3-2. Maddie Mock and Skylar Conley each added RBI singles in the third as Arcadia took a 5-3 lead.
Rymer had five strikeouts and three walks and Ashley Baird (12-7) struck out two batters but walked seven for Arcadia. Both players pitched all seven innings.
Carey 012 450 1 — 13 10 2
Arcadia 014 004 0 — 9 10 1
WP — Rymer (14-5). LP — Ashley Baird (12-7). top hitters: (Car) Schlack HR, 2-1B, 2 RBI; Hall HR, 1B, 4 RBI; Berardinelli-Clark & Rymer HR. (Arc) Ashley Baird HR, 1B, 4 RBI; Cramer HR, 1B, RBI; Hill 2-1B, RBI; Glick HR, RBI.
records: Carey 15-6, Arcadia 13-8.
By MICHAEL BURWELL