Blue Jackets jump all over Blue Devils

PHOTO BY JONATHON BIRD Carey’s Mary Racheter loses the ball as Jenna Gabel slides safely into third base during a Division IV district final at Marathon Fields in Findlay on Friday.

FINDLAY — New Riegel coach Jamie Lininger couldn’t have drawn up a better start to Friday’s game with Carey in a Division IV district final at the Marathon Diamonds in Findlay.

The first two Blue Jacket hitters walked and then scored on a single from Kaitlyn Kirian. Julia Reinhart had a bunt single and then Jordan Hohman belted a home run to left center to give the Blue Jackets a 5-0 lead before Carey even got an out.

After a pair of outs, Sydney Hohman walked, Bria Dailey laid down a bunt single and Aubrey Bouillon hit a popup just over the head of the Carey second baseman to give the Blue Jackets a 6-0 lead after the first inning.

It didn’t get much better for the Blue Devils as New Riegel run-ruled them 11-1 in six innings.

The Blue Jackets (23-3) advance to the regional semifinals here Wednesday at 5 p.m. against Antwerp or Ayersville. Their game was postponed until today.

“We were trying to ingrain that in their heads, it’s big to jump on these guys early because they are such a good team,” Lininger said. “The top of that order is brutal and (Hailey) Niederkohr is one of the best I’ve ever seen and Bridget is a nice pitcher, but you could tell it was huge in the first inning, they were a little demoralized already. It was a good start for us.

“We were getting bunts down … it just seemed like everything we tried was working and you’re going to have those types of nights. The teams we’ve had that have went the furthest, you need a heck of a lot of luck along the way. Things just went right for us tonight.”

It was the complete opposite for the Blue Devils (19-6), who for a second straight season fell in the district finals. They had six errors and couldn’t get much going against New Riegel’s Kayleigh Lininger.

“We just put ourselves in a hole early on and just could not seem to get out of it,” Carey coach Teresa Gillig said. “New Riegel is a solid team. You can’t make errors against a good team like that, especially this far into the tournament. We just dug ourselves in a hole and we couldn’t get our bats going tonight. Just wasn’t our game tonight.”

New Riegel added three runs in the third. Sydney Hohman singled to right field and then scored on a wild throw to first trying to get Bria Dailey out on a grounder. Dailey scored on Kristin Coleman’s single, and Kirian followed her up with another RBI single.

The Blue Devils got their one run in the bottom of the third as Kenzie Snyder singled to right to begin the frame. Alaina Tiell followed with a single past first base. Tiell tried to steal second, but Reinhart threw her out, which gave Carey a run as Tiell ran home from third on the throw down.

“Down nine runs, if you’re going to try to steal second we are going to throw you out,” Lininger said. “Julia is a great catcher.”

New Riegel scored on another Carey error in the fifth and tacked on its 11th run in the sixth when Aubrey Bouillon drew a bases-loaded walk to force in Marianna Tiell.

Lininger scattered six hits, didn’t allow a walk and struck out just one. However, she was really effective in the circle, especially with the changeup.

“It was great. Kayleigh was on tonight. Her changeup was on,” coach Lininger said. “She brings it pretty good for us as well and she’s had a great season for us.”

“She did a good job of hitting her spots and we just couldn’t get the hits to fall,” Gillig said of Lininger in the circle. “She did have a nice changeup. It just wasn’t our night offensively.”

Mullholand was the losing pitcher, allowing nine runs (five earned) on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings of work. She walked four.

For New Riegel, Kirian and Jordan Hohman both drove in three runs.

The win was big for another reason for Lininger. With the win Friday, he has never not had a player not make the regional. Coleman was in danger of becoming the first, but the Blue Jackets got the job done.

“I think we are either 7-0 or 8-0 in district finals, so that’s pretty cool. That streak is something I’m really proud of,” he said.