AVON LAKE — Wellington broke out the hitting sticks in its Division III district semifinal with 18 hits off three Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy pitchers, and needed every one of them in posting a 15-12 win Tuesday.
“I’m glad to come out of here with a win,” coach Duane Sunagel said. “When you score 15 runs you expect to have a little bit of a breather, but we couldn’t relax at all.”
Second-seeded Wellington (18-7) will face top-seeded Independence on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. after the Blue Devils knocked off Elyria Catholic 8-2.
The Dukes seemingly took control of the game by sending 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the third and scoring eight times for a 9-1 lead. CVCA’s Lauren McNeil and Wellington’s Brooklinn Damiano had traded home runs earlier.
After a strikeout to start the third, the next eight batters reached and scored off Royals starter Lindsay Curcio.
Allissa Boraggina and Hope Diermyer started the rally with singles and both came racing home on a double to left-center from Kendal Brasee (2-for-5).
Mak Moore followed with an RBI double and came home when Rianna Rosecrans (3-for-4, two RBIs) singled and the ball was booted in center. Amber Wetherbee singled, starting pitcher Payton Regal (6-2) followed with a run-scoring hit and Lexi Wright knocked in a pair with a line-drive double down the right-field line for an 8-1 advantage.
Boraggina knocked in the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to left off reliver Grace Hengstetler. And Wellington seemed to be in the clear.
But CVCA (11-9) countered with four runs in each of the next two innings off Regal and reliever Rosecrans.
The top of the order put a hurt on the Dukes all night, as McNeil went 3-for-5 with a pair of home runs and three runs scored, Lindasy Curcio added three hits and Grace Hengsteler two.
When the game went to the bottom of the fifth, the Royals trailed 10-9 only because Wright drove in a run with two outs in the bottom of the fourth for the Dukes.
Each time CVCA made the game close, Wellington found a way to extend its lead back into the comfort zone, getting four in the fifth and a run in the sixth.
The big blow in the fifth came when Rosecrans greeted Jackie Buredevich — CVCA’s third pitcher — with a single up the middle to drive in a pair. Wetherbee and Regal followed with RBI singles.
“It feels so good to help my team out,” said Wetherbee (4-for-4, two runs, RBI). “In those situations you just have to find a way to get out of your head and win the game. We did that really well tonight.”
Rosecrans allowed baserunners in the final two innings and gave up three runs (one earned) but made a shoestring catch running toward first base for the final out and a trip to the district final.
“I just had to stay calm and keep telling myself to stay calm. The defense is there, if I make a mistake, they will pick me up and make the next play,” Rosecrans said. “I thought it hit my glove and fell out, I didn’t expect to catch it. I just wanted to help the team get the win.”