ELYRIA - Defense told the story of Elyria Catholic`s 6-1 Division III sectional victory Thursday over Oberlin.
Elyria Catholic (11-5) had it, Oberlin (9-9) didn`t.
None of the Panthers` six runs was earned, helped by a whopping five errors, along with four wild pitches and a passed ball.
Elyria Catholic had no errors plus a fantastic defensive play by Jasmin Filiaggi. The left fielder chased down a low line drive by Nicole Isabell, making a diving, shoestring grab after a long run in the sixth.
"I looked out there and said, â€˜Oh, my God, she caught it,`" said Lauren Whited, who played a big role as the winning pitcher. "I don`t think I`ve seen a better play, ever. She is so good!
"Overall, we had great defense today."
Whited had a perfect game through four innings when Amari Foster sent a shot to left. But Foster was picked off rounding first by a perfect relay.
Oberlin finally scored in the seventh when Whited gave up a double to Foster and a single to Jessica Dakos.
"I wasn`t getting tired," Whited said. "My pitches suddenly weren`t working as well."
But for most of the game she was very sharp, using her change-up often as she struck out eight and didn`t walk a batter.
Elyria Catholic scored first in the third when Filiaggi beat out a bunt for a hit, was sacrificed to second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error by the catcher. The Panthers made it 2-0 in the fourth on Emily Taylor`s single, a passed ball, stolen base and an error by the third baseman.
The Panthers put it away with four in the sixth as Oberlin committed two more errors.
Elyria Catholic will play at Hillsdale this afternoon in a sectional final.
"They booted the ball," Elyria Catholic coach Brian Daw said. "But that was from us putting runners on base, causing pressure on their defense.
"Lauren was really on her game today. Her change-up was great. "
Of Filiaggi`s catch, Daw added: "That was a fantastic catch. In my 20 years of coaching I`ve never seen a player with that speed."
"Big players step up in big games," said Oberlin coach Rick Twining. "Our players just didn`t step up today. This was by far our worst defensive game of the year. But we only have two seniors, so maybe the players coming back can grow from this."
Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.