BY YANEEK SMITH
GENOA — When Port Clinton punched, Wauseon punched back.
Unfortunately for the Redskins, the Indians got in the final punch as Olivia Gigax hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning of Wauseon’s 6-4 win over Port Clinton in a Division II district semifinal.
The Indians had to rally just to tie the game on two separate occasions to send it into extra innings, coming back from deficits of 2-0 and 4-2, respectively.
It was a heck of a softball game. We got up two runs early, we have not played in many high-pressure games in recent years. To compete like that speaks to the character of our team,” said Port Clinton coach Ryan Wiechman. “We knew it was going
to be a battle. Give credit to Wauseon, they played to the end. They strung up a couple of hits together.
“We have nothing to hang our heads about. It stinks to lose the game, but to take the No. 2 seed to such a close game means it’s going in the right direction for us. The game didn’t end the way we wanted to. If people had said you’ll be playing Wauseon down to the last inning — and to lose the way we did, it was heartbreaking, devastating. It’s something we’ll take and learn and apply it.”
With the score tied 2-2 in the top of the sixth, pitcher Ashton Sanchez hit a home run to right to give the ‘Skins (10-15) the lead again before they added an insurance run in the seventh when Mackenzie Martinez tripled and scored on a groundout by Kennedy Adkins.
In the bottom half of the inning, Wauseon, seeded second in the Genoa district, scored two runs. With two out and nobody on, Autumn Pelok had a base hit up the middle and Bri Hays followed with a double off the wall in center. Jayli Vasquez hit a line drive off third baseman Olivia Emerson’s glove, scoring Hays to tie the game.
The first two runs of the game were scored when Port Clinton catcher Addisynne Siefke hit a double to right-center field to score Martinez and Alliyah Wharton in the top of the first.
It was the final game for Adkins, Paeja Leow and Keilynn Mazur.
“Each of them brought something a little different. Kennedy was a four-year starter. She was a third baseman for three years and we needed her to play outfield, which she never had and she didn’t blink an eye and said, ‘Sure, Coach, whatever you need.’ You never would’ve guessed it was her first year playing in the outfield,” said Wiechman. “Paeja, played second base, and as the year went on, she made a number of plays that kept us in games. She’ll be tough to replace. Keilynn gave us some first base and some hitting, all of them did. All three of them left their mark on the program.”
This was only the fifth time since 1999 that Port Clinton finished with 10 or more wins in a season.
“Our hopes are high. We’ve talked internally about some goals for next year and building off this season. The junior class we bring back is loaded. Our sophomores got another year of experience under their belt. Even a couple of the girls that I had pinch running got that experience,” said Wiechman. “We’re not going to sneak up on a lot of people next year. The word is out on Ashton, and we have some good hitters. Olivia Emerson played third base with Kennedy going to the outfield, and she played phenomenal on the hot corner.
“The program’s future is definitely bright.”