The Pirates were determined not to do it again.
The Pirates lost to Sandusky 9-1 on April 5, but used a strategic lineup to best the Blue Streaks 4-2 Wednesday night in a Division II district semifinal at Genoa Middle School.
“The team wanted this for Summer Seitz,” Perkins coach Matt Yaratch said. “She is our only senior and she didn’t like losing to them the first time, so it was good for us to get another chance”
Perkins (20-8) will play Maumee (16-9) in Saturday’s 4 p.m. district championship game.
“We had a little bit of a feeling earlier in the year, when Sandusky took it to us, that we might have to see them again,” Yaratch said. “It was a big help playing them. We know them pretty well and they know us pretty well. The only thing we really did was change our lineup a little bit so they couldn’t play our slappers together. We spread the slappers out in the lineup a little bit.
“We still only had seven hits, so it wasn’t any magical coaching thing, it was the girls,” he added. “They played a great game. This was just a very well played game from both teams. We feel fortunate enough to come out of this alive”
Kelsey Peters scored both of Sandusky’s runs, both on home runs. Her homer in the top of the first put the Streaks on the board first, but Perkins had an immediate answer.
Seitz bunted to start the inning, but was out on a fielder’s choice by Kelsey Keegan. Keegan managed to steal second and third while Cortnie Brown was at the plate. Brown walked and Laura Matso had a one-run ground out, and Brown scored on a Sandusky (15-10) throwing error to give the Pirates their first lead.
Matso had a hit in the bottom of the third and Corrine O’Hara brought her home with a big triple to deep right field.
“I have played for Sandusky before and I know Madison (Hayberger), I’ve played with her,” O’Hara said of Sandusky’s pitcher. “She loves to throw that inside pitch. She did it to me the first at bat, so I was like, it’s going inside this time too. I’m going to turn on that. I hit the meat of the bat. It felt like a great pitch — I like those inside pitches if I am timing up good”
It was exactly the kind of hit Yaratch was hoping for when he changed his lineup heading into the game.
“She is the batter that we changed up the approach with,” Yaratch said. “They play her to slap, they play her in and we had her swinging away. She just happened to have the hardest hit ball she’s had in three years of high school. That was a fantastic hit. I think that momentum right there carried us a little bit. We play better with a lead. Who doesn’t? We played with more confidence after that”
Kelsey Peters smacked out her second home run in the top of the fourth inning to cut the deficit to 3-2, but Perkins had another answer.
Carlee Vaughn was hit by pitch to start the Pirates off in the bottom of the fourth and Carey Clark moved her to second when she bunted out. Seitz then bunted Vaughn home for Perkins’ fourth and final score.
“The difference between the first game and the second game is everything we hit found holes,” Sandusky coach Tom Gerard said. “We kept their big speedsters off the bases. Today was just the opposite. They got them on, they created some instances where we threw the ball away. They scored the runs. That’s typical of Perkins. They put the pressure on you and you either perform or you don’t. We just gave them a couple of runs. What a day for Kelsey Peters though”
Emily Lipstraw struck out five Streaks and walked just one in the win.
The Blue Streaks got two on base in the top of the seventh and had a chance to score when Hayberger sent one to deep center field, but Brown made an off-balanced catch to end the game and send the Pirates to the district final.
O’Hara reiterated the importance of getting to the championship.
“Summer is definitely one of the nicest girls you will ever know” O’Hara said. “We’ve had a couple of games where we have kind of disappointed her so we wanted to come out big and win it for her since she is our only senior. She’ll be gone and we know she wants to remember us getting that district title”
Sandusky 100 100 0 — 2 6 2
Perkins 201 100 x — 4 7 1
WP: Lipstraw LP: Hayberger 3B: (P) O’Hara; HR: (S) Peters 2