NORTH JACKSON, OH- If you wanted a great softball game, you had one in the Division IV District Semifinal between East Palestine and McDonald.
The game featured an unbelievable pitcher’s duel that featured Bri Callow for the Blue Devils, and Caitlin Mohney of EP. Mohney was forced into a spot start because Bulldog Ace, Jade McBride was sidelined with an illness. Mohney stood her ground, and then some.
The game was hitless for four frames before McDonald dropped down a bunt to provide the game’s first baserunner.
Callow mowed through Bulldogs from the circle, collecting 17 strikeouts and only giving up two hits the entire game. However, it was Mohney that stole the show striking out three, and walking none which gave East Palestine every opportunity to stay neck and neck with one of the valley’s top offenses.
The stage was set in the bottom of the sixth when Megan Ward ripped a triple and scored later in the inning.
The Lady Bulldogs didn’t take long to respond.
Bulldog senior, Delaney Early would lead by example and get on by any means- in this case an infield grounder that the throw went wild to first-planting Early at second to start the final frame. Joclyn Fristik followed with a bunt single that put runners on the corners. Junior, Kenzee Johnston then had a Texas Leaguer that would score Early, and tie the game. A bunt by Harlie Deitrich would score Fristik and give the Bulldogs the lead they had been after the whole game at 2-1.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Devils wasted no time getting to work and pounded out 3 doubles including a walk-off be Sierra Schrader to win the game for McDonald, 3-2.
The Lady Devils will play East Canton this afternoon to decide the District Champion.
*East Palestine Sophomore Center Fielder Morgan Rutledge laid out for a ball defensively late in the game that was against the fence. Rutledge hit the fence at full speed, bounced up and held the McDonald batter to a double.
*The Bulldogs lose 2 players to graduation, Delaney Early and Taylor Hostetter have helped build a strong foundation for softball in East Palestine. They finished their senior season 17-7.
*McDonald now holds an MVAC title, Sectional Title, and will play for Districts on Thursday at 5pm