May 22, 2013
BATH TOWNSHIP — Lima Central Central kept getting runners on base.
But Fairview pitcher Haley Robbins wasn’t going to let anything spoil her birthday.
Robbins hit another gear with runners on base and went on to fire a four-hit, 3-0 victory over LCC in the Division III district softball semifinals Tuesday at Bath.
LCC left six on base, including putting runners at first and second with no outs in the sixth. LCC also had a runner at second with no outs in the fourth.
“I try to relax and take a deep breath,” Robbins said. “I had my girls behind me and that’s all I really need. I kind of shut everything out and relax.”
Robbins went the distance and gave up four hits. She struck out six and walked one. Robbins relied heavily on her fastball and riseball and threw 93 pitches, 69 for strikes.
“She had the high rise going,” LCC coach Kevin Wilkerson said. “We talked about adjusting to the high rise and being more patient. Both pitchers battled real well and it was a good pitching duel.”
Fairview coach Staci Renollet said Robbins (17-2) has been tough to hit all year.
“It happens to be her 16th birthday and it was the best present we could have given her,” Renollet said. “She hasn’t pitched poorly all season. She knows what to do when she gets in those jams. She doesn’t get rattled or shook up.”
LCC ends the year 12-9. Fairview (18-3) advances to the district title game against the Archbold/Bluffton winner at 5 p.m. Friday at Bath.
“It was a good team. They were 17-3 and they played like they were 17-3,” Wilkerson said of Fairview.
Fairview scored a run in the first when Meagan Johns singled, stole second and came home on an RBI double to left by Corina Gerbers, as she knocked the ball over the left fielder’s head. That gave Fairview a 1-0 lead.
Fairview added two more in the home fifth. With the bases loaded and two outs, Fairview’s Allie Hug hit a fly to left-center field that the LCC center field dropped. Two runs scored to make it 3-0.
LCC pitcher Meredith Shepherd, the Northwest Conference Player of the Year, pitched well, mixing in her change-up with her moving fastball. She went the whole way and gave up six hits, three runs, one earned. She struck out five and walked three. Shepherd threw 111 pitches, 74 for strikes.
The T-Birds had several key chances, but couldn’t push a run across.
LCC’s Sydney Santaguida started the fourth by reaching on an error, the stole second and third. Robbins then struck out the next three hitters to hold the 1-0 lead.
In the sixth, Shepherd and Santaguida started it off with singles. But, once again, Robbins got the next three hitters on a fly to right, a strikeout and a groundout to short and that was it.
“Both teams threatened, and luckily for us, our hitters came up with some timely big hits to get us in the scoring column,” Renollet said. “Haley pitched a real nice game and our defense was pretty solid behind her.”