But there was a play that demonstrated why

By Eric Clutter Record-Courier staff writer Published:

But there was a play that demonstrated why the Blue Devils are aiming for their third straight state title.

Striking for a pair of runs in both the third and fourth innings, Tallmadge (20-5) took a 4-0 lead into the top of the fifth on its own field.

However, with the aid of a Tallmadge error on a potential double-play ball, Field had runners on second and third with no outs and appeared ready to cut into its deficit.

Field designated hitter Jamie Notch was unable to collect a hit off Tallmadge pitcher Cathy Glass, but she was successful in sending a medium fly ball to the Blue Devils' Kim Griech. Griech made the routine catch of a certain sacrifice fly that would put the Falcons on the board.

Not so fast.

The senior centerfielder, who is headed to Bowling Green on a basketball scholarship and is regarded as one of the area's best defensive outfielders, threw a dart to Tallmadge catcher Pam Poff, who applied the tag on Field runner Melinda Smith _ at least five feet from the plate.

Wait, the play didn't end there.

Poff, another of Tallmadge coach Don Duffy's six seniors, threw to third in an attempt to get the trailing runner, Nikki Watson, who was trying to advance on the throw home. By a matter of inches, Watson was able to slide safely into the bag _ avoiding a triple play.

"Our defense was pretty good," said Duffy. "We came pretty close to getting a triple play. That's as close as I've ever seen and not gotten one. You don't coach those kind of things. Those things just happen instinctively."

Glass then got the final out on a comebacker to the mound, ending the threat and, more or less, the game as well.

The Falcons (20-9) struck for a run in the sixth on Beth Wright's second single of the game, but that was it for Field, which one day after collecting 10 hits off Norton pitching managed just five off Glass.

"Our bats went a little south on us," said Field coach Ray Dickerhoof. "I think it is a tribute to coach Duffy scouting us and knowing that we are such an aggressive-hitting team. They kind of kept us off balance.

"We rallied a little bit, (but) we made a baserunning blunder here and there, and against a very well-coached team, you do not do that and get away with it. Especially when you are struggling for base hits.

"We've been averaging 9 to 13 hits the last two or three weeks," continued Dickerhoof. "Basically, that's what I'm looking at. When we don't hit the ball, we struggle because we are not a fast team."

Field pitcher Tia Wilmoth held the Blue Devils in check for the first two innings, but ran into some trouble in the third. A walk on four pitches to Rebecca Cuva started the inning, and a sacrifice bunt and ground out pushed Cuva to third.

Tallmadge shortstop Kendra Brownlee then got hold of a Wilmoth pitch and sent it to deep right-center, over the heads of Watson and right fielder Denise Shanafelt, and the ball rolled to the base of the fence.

While Cuva scored easily, Duffy gave Brownlee the green light at third. And the speedy senior raced home, just eluding the tag of Field catcher Rachel Hendrickson as the relay throw was to the first-base side of the plate.

The Blue Devils doubled their lead an inning later on Carrie Wilson's two-run single.

The loss marked the second straight year that Tallmadge has eliminated the Falcons in the district championship game.

"We are getting better. We looked a lot smoother this year," said Dickerhoof.

_____

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.