The Bellevue Lady Red spent the better part of Thursday Division II district championship game against No. 5-ranked Mansfield Madison trying to figure out sophomore pitcher Sloan Kiser.
Bellevue (18-6) spent the first five innings making solid contact, but swinging just a bit to early and sometimes a tad late — causing infield choppers the ball to careen into foul territory. By the time it did catch up with Kiser, it was a 5-0 deficit in the top of the sixth inning of the 6-3 setback.
Kennedy Ryan drew the start for Bellevue and things looked good early on as it only took her six pitches to retire Madison (23-5) in the first inning. But things took a drastic turn for the worse in a second, where the Rams batted around the order and scored five runs.
Just when it looked like the Lady Red were done, Alex Fiske hit a towering three-run home run that easily cleared the left field fence to drive in Raquelle Seamon and Lyndsey Seamon in the sixth to cut the deficit in half at 6-3.
The homer followed a close play at second base where Madison’s shortstop appeared to drop the ball before touching the bag on a force out at second. Had the out not been recorded, Fiske’s deep swing could have been a grand slam and a two-run deficit.
“Alex got a hold of that and really hit it well,” Bellevue coach Walt Snyder said. “Really that should have been a grand slam, the play before the home run was a bad call. We were hitting the ball hard all game long, but it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Lyndsey Seamon led Bellevue with two hits and Sophia Pressler, Lara Spurlock, Raquelle Seamon, and Riley Mohr all had one hit each. Ryan went 1 2/3 innings and allowed five runs on six hits and struck out one batter. Aubrey Michaels replaced Ryan and went 3 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on eight hits and with three strikeouts.
Kiser earned the complete-game win for Madison. She allowed the three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and one walk. She also went 2 for 4 offensively with two RBIs and a run scored.
Bellevue, which also won the Sandusky Bay Conference Lake division title this season, will lose four seniors to graduation in Pressler, Marissa McClenathan, Maycie Buckner and Lyndsey Seamon.
“They never gave up and played hard right until the end,” Snyder said. “This senior class is going to be hard to replace, and their leadership will be missed. They accomplished so much through their four years of high school softball and they leave behind a great legacy.”