Dukes fall in dis­trict fi­nal

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - SPORTS - By Robert Fen­bers

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.”

RANDY MEY­ERS — THE MORN­ING JOUR­NAL

Brook­linn Dami­ano of Welling­ton lifts a fly ball to the out­field against In­de­pen­dence on May 17.

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