GREENVILLE – A first-inning grand slam by Mechanicsburg’s Daytayviah Rodgers helped lead the Indians to an 8-4 Division IV regional final victory over Minster on Saturday at Stebbins Field.
Minster battled back with a pair of solo home runs in the fourth, but the Indians scored one run in the fifth and three in the seventh to pull away.
“We got ourselves in a hole that first inning and against a good team, you can’t do that,” Minster Coach Robb Hemmelgarn said. “We showed why you can’t do it against a good team because it’s hard to get out of. We fought until the end, but it was too much to overcome.”
The No. 3-ranked Indians (20-3) earned the program’s first state berth and will face Jeromesville Hillsdale (17-5) in a semifinal on Friday at 5:30 at Firestone Stadium in Akron.
“The girls played well,” said Mechanicsburg Coach Abbey DeLong. “They stayed with the plan and got the job done. We had strong pitching, strong hitting and good defense.
“Our goal every time out is to stick with the plan and win the day,” she added. “They are a great group of kids. They work hard every day. There has never been a doubt in my mind that they belong in the final four.”
Top-ranked Minster (27-2) was seeking its second state berth in program history but struggled to hit against Mechanicsburg pitchers Francys King and Rodgers. King started and picked up the win while striking out six batters in five innings and Rodgers pitched the last two innings.
King sailed smoothly until giving up a pair of solo home runs to Minster pitcher Jenna Poeppelman and Laney Hemmelgarn in the fourth inning. She gave up a leadoff hit in the fifth but retired the next three batters to end it, with two coming on strikeouts.
Rodgers then came in and finished Minster off. The Wildcats scored two runs on three hits and a walk in the seventh to narrow the final deficit, but Rodgers had a strikeout to end it.
For Mechanicsburg, Hanna DeLong was 2 for 3 with 2 RBI, King was 2 for 4 with an RBI and Kasey Schipfer was 2 for 4 with an RBI.