FINDLAY — Antwerp pitcher Carrie Hanes played a seven-inning game of pitch and catch.
The junior standout pitcher pounded it across the plate and Crestview couldn’t do much with it.
Hanes was overpowering in Antwerp’s 3-0 victory against Crestview in the Division IV softball regional championship game Friday at the Marathon Diamonds’ Anderson Field.
Hanes struck out 17 and walked one. She gave up four hits, all singles, and walked one.
Antwerp (19-2) will make its first state softball appearance. The Archers will play the winner of today’s Peebles (23-2) vs. Danville (18-7) game at 3 p.m. Friday in the state semifinals at Akron’s Firestone Stadium.
Crestview, which came in with a 14-game winning streak, ends its year 22-5.
“I feel so excited and ready (for state),” Hanes. “It’s such a big deal for us.’’
Hanes changed speeds and mixed up her pitches between her riseball/fastball, change-up and curve. She threw them all for strikes and continually got ahead in the count.
“I was trying to keep them off pace and I threw lots of curveballs,” Hanes said. “That’s one of my favorite pitches because it moves a lot. And I was happy with my change-up.
“I felt like I played to the best that I possibly could. It’s not going to be perfect every time, but the competition gets better every time.’’
Hanes threw 90 pitches, 67 for strikes.
“She’s the real deal,” Crestview coach Carl Etzler said. “She had command of all of her pitches. We tried to bring in a couple of pitchers this week to try to emulate her, but you can’t emulate someone like her.’’
Antwerp coach Krista Ordway said of Hanes, “She was on it today. She was throwing some fire. She had a 21-strikeout game this year, and she just stays on her game and stays consistent. That’s her job out there, and she does it well.’’
Besides Hanes, the difference was on defense.
Antwerp made several outstanding plays in the field, including a sliding catch by center fielder Tiera Gomez.
The Knights made four errors, which accounted for three unearned runs.
In the top of the first, Crestview pitcher Kali Small got the first two Archers out.
But the third hitter of the game, Hanes, hit a ball to left which the Knights left fielder couldn’t handle for an error, as the ball hit her glove and bounced away.
The throw to the infield went past the second baseman for another error and Hanes ended up standing at third base.
Asti Coppes then hit a ball to shallow right field that again the Knights dropped for the third error of the inning.
Hanes scored and it was 1-0.
Samantha Rigsby (3 for 4) followed with an RBI single to left and it was 2-0 Archers.
Crestview made its fourth error in the fifth, which led to an RBI bunt single by Rigsby.
With Hanes locked it, that 3-0 lead in the fifth seemed gigantic.
The sun occasionally peaked out from the cloudy skies, but Etzler wouldn’t use the sun as an excuse for the dropped fly balls.
“I’m not going to say it was the sun because I’m not sure we had enough of it (the sun),” Etzler said. “I thought we were relaxed the other day (in the regional semifinal win over Gibsonburg), but I suppose another game on the big stage was a little bit of nerves. They made the plays and we didn’t.
“And when you get down two runs against a pitcher like that, it’s almost like being down seven or eight against anybody else.’’
For Crestview, Bailey Gregory went 2 for 3 with two bunt singles.
But there was no stringing together hits against Hanes. All four of the Knights’ hits came in different innings.
Hanes had at least two strikeouts in every inning. She struck out the side in the second, fourth and sixth innings.
In the sixth, Small singled with two outs for the Knights.
Hanes then went to a 3-1 count on Lexi Gregory. Hanes then came back to strike out Gregory to end the inning.
Small went the distance for the Knights. She gave up three unearned runs, on five hits. She struck out five and walked four.
Small threw 90 pitches, 64 for strikes.
Etzler was happy with his team’s second half of the year after it fell to Bluffton, which was a big factor in determining Bluffton’s Northwest Conference championship.
“I’m so proud of our girls to finish 22-5. I think we were 8-4 at one point,” Etzler said. … “This is a great learning experience, but we have to build off of it.’’
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.