BY J. PATRICK EAKEN | MIRROR SPORTS — Last Saturday afternoon in Clyde, the sun came out and it warmed up just enough for the bats to come alive in Anthony Wayne’s 15-4 Division I regional final victory over North Ridgeville at Joe Wilson Field.
Ohio’s ninth-ranked Generals made a statement in defeating the No. 10-ranked Rangers by 11, forcing a regional final game to end with two outs remaining in the bottom of the sixth because of the mercy rule.
“We just annihilated them,” said AW coach Ron Myers. “(Senior pitcher) Lauren (Curry) came out and had three really good innings pitching and handed the ball over to (freshman) Brooklyn Patchen in the third. Brooklyn closed them down.”
Curry went 2.1 innings, striking out one, walking two and allowing three hits and no runs.
Patchen closed the final 3.2 innings, striking out six, walking one and allowing six hits and four runs over the final two innings. Patchen also contributed big-time offensively.
“Our bats were on fire,” Myers said. “Brooklyn hit three in on a home run and our bats stayed on fire the whole time.”
Myers related a story, laughing, which he did not say was off the record, so what the heck. This statement demonstrates how dominant Anthony Wayne was.
“(Assistant) coach (Steve) Curry went into the bathroom and there were a couple North Ridgeville parents in there,” Myers said.
“When he was walking in the door, they were talking to each other and said, ‘They really kicked our butts today.’ It was really never close.”
The Generals scored four runs in the first frame and added two in the third, four in the fourth, one in the fifth and walked off with four in the sixth to end the game mercifully.
Seven AW players had multiple hits and nine got into the hitting column. By the time the dust had cleared, the Generals had outhit the Rangers, 18-9.
Curry said once the hitting parade started, it was contagious.
“We knew North Ridgeville was a good team going in,” she said. “They obviously had great pitchers, but our bats were just on fire. Once somebody got a hit, next came another one and we just fed off that energy and then the dugout got loud.
“I think we just fed off each other’s energy a lot when we were getting those hits and keeping our energy helped a lot with that, scoring all those runs.”
Patchen was 2-for-3 with the home run and five RBI, Hannah Pfundt went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI and Essence Dobbelaere-Buchman was 3-for-3.
Curry went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI, Abby Meyer was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI and Trinity Nowicki was 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Abby Kennelly and Kennedy Cowan also had base hits. Liskai had three stolen bases and Teya Marshall and Kennelly had one SB apiece for AW.
The Generals did all this damage against two highly touted pitchers – Autumn Behlke and Katie Barnhart.
Over two innings, Behlke struck out two, walked one and gave up eight hits and six runs, but only three were earned because AW also took advantage of two errors.
Barnhart struck out four, walked six and allowed 10 hits and nine runs over 3.2 innings, taking the loss.
“This team we played was very talented. They had two very good pitchers and they had several good hitters, and we just ran right over the top of them,” Myers said.
Senior Chloe Carpenter, who starts at second base but does not always get the accolades because she plays the flex position, said the AW dugout was a madhouse, in a good way.
“We were excited every inning because this is such an amazing team,” she said. “We watched one of their games and they are a good team, so it felt really good for us to be able to just hit the crap out of the ball that game.”
Allie Chinchar (solo home run), Rachel Mease (double) and Emily Lime (double) paced the offense for the Rangers, while Barnhart, Daylan Baker and Jaylah Howard also had base hits.