Softball season ends in the Sweet Sixteen

Tuscola’s post-season run came to an end in the Sweet Sixteen this past Saturday at the Casey Westfield Sectional as the Warriors weren’t able to over come an early lead falling 9-2 to the hosts. The ladies in black and gold earned their spot in the final with a solid 5-3 win over the three-ranked Lady Wolves of Flora in the semi-finals.

Ashton Smith and Kaitlyn Reifsteck combined for the victory. Smith hurled the first four and two thirds giving up three runs on five hits to collect the win. Reifsteck secured the save entering in the fifth, recoding the final seven outs allowing just one Wolf to reach.

Offensively the Warriors put 13 hits up on the board against an EIU commit. Leading the way were Allison Clark and Isabelle Shelmadine. The duo each delivered three hits in the contest. Clark added three RBI’s to her season stat sheet, as well, driving in a pair early with a single to left center, then handed the Warriors an insurance run in the top of the sevenththwith a solo shot over the left field fence. The Ring sisters were strong with the bat as well posting two hits apiece while combining to score three runs.

Claire Ring singled to start the third, moved on a base knock by Shelmadine and a sac bunt by her little sister, and scored on a single by Jackie Watson. Shelmadine found her way on a batter later plating run number two on a single by Ali Clark. They added two more in the fifth, and once more it was Claire Ring setting the table with a single to center. She moved on a single by Shelmadine and this time the younger Ring drove her in with a single to right. Shelmadine was forced at third, but a single by Ali Clark drove in the younger Ring pushing the Warriors’ lead to 4-0.

Smith induced a ground ball out to start the bottom half, but a hit and an error led to a three-run homer that cut the lead to one. The junior gave way to Reifsteck who then closed the door on the Wolves retiring seven of the next eight to step to the plate, firing up five fly ball outs and a pair of ground outs. Clark added an insurance run in the top of the seventh with a lead off bomb that cleared the fence in the left field corner on the second pitch of the frame.

Casey took full advantage of a grounder with eyes and a dying quail to left building an early 2-0 lead in the final. They added one more in the second and three in the fourth, taking the wind out of the Warriors’ sails. Kendyl Ring was tops on the offensive side accounting for two of Tuscola’s four hits in the contest.

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