LAGRANGE - After failing to take advantage of a Fairview error in the bottom of the eighth inning, Brookside finally capitalized on two Warrior miscues in the bottom of the ninth to pull out a 4-3 win in a Division II district semifinal at LaGrange Community Park on Wednesday.
With one out in the eighth, pinch hitter Haley Kloepell singled to center. On Gabby Piowar`s steal of second, the catcher`s throw went into center field and Piowar made it to third. But Fairview ace Katy Brown ended the threat by striking out the next two batters.
The ninth was a different story.
Cardinals pitcher Dawn Ondercin led off with a base hit to left field and coach Bob Eis sent in Terry Vigg to run. After a flyout, Vigg took second on a fielder`s choice. With Allison Elias at bat, a passed ball sent Vigg to third, and she scored on the next pitch, a wild one in the dirt.
"We`ve heard from a lot of people that with our record, 12-8 coming in, we didn`t deserve to be here," Eis said. "But if you look who we lost to, our record will speak for itself. Six of our eight losses were to state-ranked teams. Two were to Keystone, one to Wellington, one to Columbia, one to Amherst, and the other was to Madison Plain, a very good Division IV team we played in Columbus.
"It`s been 15 years since Brookside won a sectional championship and even longer since they won a district championship. I told these kids they`re part of history now."
Fairview (11-15) took a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning as Brown led off with a single, stole second and came home on a double by Gabrielle Craider. Craider scored on an error by the second baseman on a hit by Danielle Dobrzeniecki, who stole second and came home on consecutive singles by Haley Chen and Erin Wolansky.
Brookside (13-8) scored its runs in the fifth and sixth to tie the game.
Kauffman led off the fifth with a single to center. Following a strikeout, Angela Gorka singled to left. With runners on first and second and one out, Amber Wiley laid down a sacrifice bunt. In an attempt to get Kauffman, who had rounded third, Fairview`s first baseman threw the ball down the left-field line, and both runners scored.
The tying run scored in the sixth on a walk by Jenn Sours, a sacrifice by Kyleigh Whitsel and a single to left by Ondercin.
Fairview had an opportunity to take the lead in the top of the ninth, but stranded three runners. That set up the bottom of the ninth and the Brookside win.
"It is not just that one play that cost us the game," Fairview coach Kari Nelson said. "We played nine innings and there were several opportunities that we didn`t take advantage of. We`ve had an up-and-down season, but we came out ready to play and were aggressive at the plate, but we just didn`t get the job done. A few little things got us down and we just couldn`t overcome them."
The win puts the Cardinals in the district final against Keystone, a winner over Bay in the other semifinal.
Contact Ron Nenadal at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.