Perrysburg's Katie Dunphy connects for a home run in the first inning against Elyria during the Division I softball regional semifinal on Thursday. The Yellow Jackets finished the season 19-9.
CLYDE, Ohio -- It should have been a routine play, an otherwise routine moment during the course of a playoff game.
Catch the ball cleanly and end the inning, then focus on closing out the final inning of play.
A defensive miscue in the late innings of a Division I regional semifinal ultimately ended the Perrysburg softball team's postseason run, in a 6-5 loss to Elyria.
With two runners on base and two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Elyria trailed Perrysburg by a run when Perrysburg second baseman Katlin Zampino turned to field a pop fly at the edge of the infield. The ball landed in the palm of her glove, then dropped to the ground, and Caitlyn Minney and Marie Masters scored on the play to give the Pioneers their first lead of the game Thursday at Joe Wilson Field.
"We played hard the whole game, but there were a few mistakes that we should have executed," said Katie Dunphy, a junior shortstop who went 3 for 3 for Perrysburg, which finished with 11 hits. "It happened to be the sixth inning that they had the runners on that they needed, and we just broke down at that point."
Like Dunphy, Perrysburg coach Ryan DeMars didn't see the sixth inning as the only turning point in the loss.
Perrysburg third baseman Mallory Creps makes a throw during the second inning against Elyria Thursday.
"You can't ask for any more than giving your team a chance, and we had a chance," DeMars said. "But there were some other things earlier in the game that we didn't execute, that we should have done that, obviously, had an impact in the game later on. There were some mini-turning points, but them scoring three runs in the sixth, that was the big part."
Elyria (25-2) will face Notre Dame at noon Saturday in the title game at Joe Wilson Field.
Elyria coach Ken Fenik believed his team needed to find the right opportunity to change the course of the game.
"When you get this far, you find somebody opens up the door," Fenik said. "Perrysburg, I was scared to death of them, the way they hit the ball. You saw that at the beginning."
Perrysburg (19-9) and Elyria combined for seven runs on eight hits in the first two innings, as the Yellow Jackets took a 4-3 lead with the help of Dunphy's home run in the first inning. Perrysburg (19-9) extended its lead to 5-3 in the top of the fourth when Dunphy scored as Ty Wilson was caught in a rundown between first and second base.
"Our hitting is definitely strong, and their pitcher [Caitlyn Minney] throws very hard," Dunphy said. "But hitting's been our strong point this year."
Perrysburg put runners on first and second with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Kayleen Jurski popped out to end the game.
"We just never stop fighting," Wilson said. "We know that we wanted this, and we never stopped fighting. It was really exciting, but it didn't end the way we wanted it."
Contact Rachel Lenzi at: email@example.com, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.
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