Dukes fall in district final
What a difference 48 hours can make.
After posting 15 runs in the district semifinals against Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, Wellington had its chances to take down top-seeded Independence, but could not break through as it bowed out to the Blue Devils, 4-0, in the Division III Avon Lake District championship game on May 17.
The Dukes’ powerful lineup was held in check through most of the game by Blue Devils ace Kim Rega (14-0).
“Well, their pitcher pitched a great game,” Dukes coach Duane Sunagel said. “She kept us offbalance the whole game. We tried to sit on the fastball, and then we tried to sit on the change-up. We don’t get shutout much, and she was able to throw a good game.”
Rega thrived in the circle, fooling the Dukes (18-8) with a fastball and change-up combination that kept them on their toes for the entire game. When she wasn’t on, her defense was there to pick her up.
“It’s huge,” Rega said. “This is the furthest I have ever gone in my high school career. To make it here is huge, and I couldn’t have done it without my defense behind me. I throw changeups and stuff. But I’m not a dominant pitcher, and to have my defense behind me, it was great.”
Rega went seven innings, allowing eight hits and one walk while striking out two.
She also went 3-for-4, including a single, double and home run, and two RBI.
Independence’s Maggie George but the Blue Devils on the board with a RBI single in the bottom of the first. Molly Daugherty added a sacrifice RBI, upping the lead to 2-0.
Rega did the rest of the damage with an RBI single in the second, followed by her home run in the fourth.
Trying to break through all game, the Dukes loaded the bases with two outs after Peyton Regal’s single, Lexi Wright’s walk and Brooklinn Damiano’s single. But they were denied as Madison Soboslai hit a liner right to Independence first baseman Olivia Pallini.
Wellington had another chance in the top of the sixth, but another stellar effort from the Independence defense got Rega out of the inning.
“We just couldn’t push that run across,” Sunagel said. “We just didn’t get a timely hit in those situations.”
The Dukes’ Damiano tallied a pair of hits on the night, including a single and a double.
She believed the atmosphere of a district championship might have been one of the reasons for the sluggish offense at the plate.
“I think the atmosphere (was different),” Damiano said. “We haven’t been here in a really long time. There was just a bunch of people and everyone was really anxious.”’
After a tough start, the Dukes’ Payton Regal was pulled after three innings in favor of Rianna Rosecrans. The change, slowed down the Blue Devils’ bats, but it was too little too late.
Damiano looked back on a special season.
“I think it was a great season, probably one the best Wellington has had in five or six years.”
Brooklinn Damiano of Wellington lifts a fly ball to the outfield against Independence on May 17.