AKRON – Hanna DeLong’s two-run homer helped lead Mechanicsburg to a 7-3 win over Jeromesville Hillsdale in a Division IV state softball semifinal Friday night.
In the top of the first inning, Mechanicsburg’s Taylor Hurst and Audrey Ayars both singled.
Megan Alspaugh sacrificed the runners up a base, but DeLong popped out and Kasey Schipfer struck out to end the inning.
Mechanicsburg pitcher Francys King set Hillsdale down in order in the bottom of the first, two on strikeouts.
In the top of the second, Daytayviah Rodgers reached on an error and later scored from third on an error to give the Indians a 1-0 lead.
“(Scoring first) is our goal every game,” said Mechanicsburg Coach Abbey DeLong. “I think we play better when we can go out and score first. Score first, put a little pressure on them. Then it gets (King) a little bit of comfort and she can relax a little bit”
Hillsdale had a hit with two outs in the bottom of the second, but the runner tried to stretch it to a double and was tagged out.
Mechanicsburg went down in order in the top of the third.
In the bottom of the third, Hillsdale had runners on first and second with two out, but on a hit to centerfield, Alspaugh was able to throw out the runner at home to preserve the 1-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth, Schipfer led off with a walk and later moved to third on an errant throw.
With one out, Schipfer scored on Macy Reed’s double to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.
Reed moved to third on King’s single, and the Indians had runners on the corners.
A successful squeeze play brought Reed in from third to give Mechanicsburg a 3-0 lead.
Moments later, a wild pitch scored another run to put the Indians ahead 4-0.
In the bottom of the fourth, a hit and an error helped lead to a Hillsdale run on a sacrifice fly, which cut the Mechanicsburg lead to 4-1.
Ayars reached on a bunt single to open the top of the fifth and later scored on Schipfer’s two-out hit to give the Indians a 5-1 lead.
Aided by a Mechanicsburg error, Hillsdale rallied in the bottom of the fifth inning to score runs on an RBI groundout and an RBI sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 5-3.
A hit and a wild pitch to open the bottom of the sixth gave Hillsdale a runner at second base with no outs, but King retired the next three batters.
In the top of the seventh, DeLong’s two-run homer gave the Indians a 7-3 lead.
“I was just trying to relax … just go up there and try to get a hit,” said Hanna DeLong. “I went 3-2 and she threw me a changeup. As soon as I hit it I said, ‘Yep that’s over.’”
Hillsdale loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but the game ended on a pop-up.
“They took advantage of our mistakes and went at us full force,” said Hillsdale Coach Hannah Fulk. “We just could never catch up.”
The Indians (21-3) will play Antwerp (21-2) for the state title here today at 7 p.m.
Mechanicsburg baseball game moved
The Mechanicsburg-Minster Division IV baseball regional semifinal will be played today at noon at Coldwater – weather permitting.