Warren grinds out D-10 quarterfinal win over Hickory

Warren’s Gracie Wood (18) slides into third with a triple while Hickory third baseman Maura Mulligan tries to corral the ball during the second inning of their Class 4A District 10 Quarterfinal playoff game at Penn State Behrend, Tuesday, May 21, 2019. The Dragons defeated the Hornets, 4-3, to advance to the semifinals against Harbor Creek.

ERIE – Warren capitalized on a crucial Hickory mistake and the Dragons held off a late Hornets rally to pick up a 4-3 win in their Class 4A District 10 quarterfinal playoff game at Penn State Behrend Tuesday.

A throwing errror by Hickory second baseman Kendra Koerth with two on and two out in the sixth inning brought in what proved to be the decisive fourth run. The Hornets got the tying run on base in the bottom of the seventh, but Morgan Huey grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game.

“This time of year, it doesn’t matter how you win as long as you win and advance,” Warren coach Jon Sitler said. “Was it a perfect game? No. All that matters is we won.”

It was clear early this game would be a pitcher’s duel. Hickory’s (7-11) Carlie Miller set Warren down in order in the top of the first (Warren lost a pregame coin toss and was the visiting team despite being the higher seed), and the Dragons’ (17-1) Ellie Lobdell allowed just one hit in the bottom half.

With two outs in the second, Gracie Wood hit a tailing line drive to the gap in right-center. Warren’s speedy centerfielder raced around the bases for a triple. Miller locked in and got Celia Chase to pop out to her to end the threat.

Warren’s Ellie Lobdell (10) shares a high-five with coach Jon Sitler as she rounds third after hitting a solo homerun in the fourth inning of a Class 4A District 10 Quarterfinal playoff game against Hickory at Penn State Behrend, Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Lobdell and the Dragons defeated the Hornets, 4-3.

Grace Wortman drew a leadoff walk to start the third. Alex Neureiter sac bunted her to second and, with two outs, Julia Lobdell roped a RBI double to the centerfield fence to put Warren ahead, 1-0.

“That ball is probably out at our field,” Sitler said of the double.

After pitching 1-2-3 second and third innings, Ellie Lobdell led off the top of the fourth. She fell behind 0-2, but shot the next pitch well beyond the wall in left-center for a solo homerun, her 10th of the season, and a 2-0 advantage.

Hickory got on the board in the home half.

Miller drew a leadoff walk and Autumn Black singled her to second. Miller was lifted for courtesy runner Malaiah Burns. With one out, Avery Micchia squared to bunt. Micchia whiffed on the pitch, but the ball got past catcher Kiersten Hoffman. Burns sprinted to third, then came home when Hoffman’s throw went beyond Lex Nyquist’s reach and into left. That brought the Hornets within one at 2-1.

Warren second baseman Julia Lobdell (37) flips to shortstop Lex Nyquist (5) just before Hickory’s Ella Holland (13) slides into the bag for the final out of their Class 4A District 10 Quarterfinal playoff game at Penn State Behrend, Tuesday, May 21, 2019. The Dragons held off the Hornets for a 4-3 win and a semifinal matchup with Harbor Creek Thursday at a time and location TBD.

With one out in the sixth, Ellie Lobdell singled. Ellee Irwin came in as a courtesy runner and went to third on Kelsey Stuart’s single. Katie Madigan came in to run for Stuart. One out later, Madigan sprinted to second without a throw on the first pitch of Chase’s at-bat. After fouling off several pitches, Chase hit what appeared to be a routine grounder to second. Koerth fielded the ball cleanly, but the throw was well wide of Sarah Cardamon at first. Irwin scored easily and Madigan sprinted around third and in ahead of the throw to put Warren up 4-1.

“To Katie’s credit, she saw what happened and just kept running,” Sitler said.

The Hornets capitalized on a Dragons mistake in the bottom of the inning.

Miller drew a one-out walk and Black followed with a single to center. Wood overran the ball on the hop and Miller was able to score on the play to cut the lead to 4-2.

Nyquist appeared to have a one-out double in the top of the seventh, but the ball hit just inches foul and Miller was able to escape the inning without allowing a runner.

Warren's Katie Madigan (21) crosses the plate in the sixth inning of a Class 4A District 10 Quarterfinal playoff game against Hickory at Penn State Behrend, Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Madigan ultimately became the deciding run in a 4-3 Dragons win over the Hornets.

Koerth was hit by a pitch to start the bottom half. Nyquist made a jumping catch just behind second base on Maura Mulligan’s line drive for the first out. Madison Grace sac bunted Koerth to second and Ella Holland’s RBI single made it 4-3 with the tying run on first.

Sitler called a timeout and had a meeting on the mound.

“I didn’t have to say a whole lot,” he said. “Our captains really ran the huddle.”

Huey worked the count to 2-2, fouled off a pair of pitches then hit a ground ball to second. Julia Lobdell fielded the ball cleanly and tossed to Nyquist at second for the force out to end the game.

Black finished with three hits for the Hornets. Miller gave up four runs, two earned, on six hits over seven innings. She walked one and struck out five.

Ellie Lobdell was the only Dragon with multiple hits. She scored once and drove in a run and Julia Lobdell drove in another. Ellie Lobdell gave up three runs, one earned, on four hits in her seven innings of work. She walked two and struck out nine.

“Ellie just keeps doing what she does, both at the plate and on the mound,” Sitler said. “She has the potential of doing something special whenever she touches the ball.”

Despite only collecting six hits on the day, the Dragons hit the ball hard when they did connect as three of the six hits went for extra bases.

“We got hits when it mattered,” Sitler said. “We’ve got more power in our lineup. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next game it’s not Lex or Kiersten or Celia or Kelsey or Grace getting a big hit.”

That next game is scheduled for Thursday. Warren will face Harbor Creek in the semifinals at a time and location to be determined. The Huskies knocked off Conneaut, 1-0, in their quarterfinal.

“Harbor Creek is going to come out like they did today,” Sitler said. “They played us tough at home this year, but we’ll be ready for it.”

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WARREN (4)

Nyquist ss 4-0-1-0, J. Lobdell 2b 4-0-1-1, Hoffman c 3-0-0-0, E. Lobdell p 3-1-2-1, Irwin cr 0-1-0-0, Stuart dp 3-0-1-0, Madigan lf 0-1-0-0 Wood cf 3-0-1-0, 3-0-1-0, Chase 1b 3-0-0-0, Wortman rf 2-1-0-0, Neureiter 2-0-0-0, Totals 27-4-6-2

HICKORY (3)

Huey c 4-0-0-0, Miller p 1-1-0-0, Burns cr 0-1-0-0, Black ss 3-0-3-0, Cardamon 1b 3-0-0-0, Micchia cf 3-0-0-0, Koerth 2b 2-1-0-0, Mulligan 3b 3-0-0-0, Grace rf 2-0-0-0, Holland lf 3-0-1-1, Totals 24-3-4-1

Warren 001 102 0 – 4 6 2

Hickory 000 101 1 – 3 4 1

DP-None. 2b-J. Lobdell (W). 3b-Wood (W). HR-E. Lobdell (W).

IP H R ER BB K

Warren

E. Lobdell (W, 17-1) 7 3 3 1 2 9

Hickory

Miller (L) 7 6 4 2 1 5

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HARBOR CREEK 1, CONNEAUT 0

Macy Stoddard tossed a 4-hit shutout and drove in the game’s only run as Harbor Creek topped Conneaut, 1-0, in their Class 4A District 10 quarterfinal game Tuesday.

Molly Nielsen hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth inning and Stoddard singled her home with one out for the game-winner. Stoddard walked one and struck out three on the day.

Kiersten Shrock was dominant on the mound for Conneaut. She gave up just one earned run on three hits in six innings. She walked just one and struck out 11. Ashton Andrews had a pair of hits for the Eagles.

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