RICHMOND - The Indian Creek softball team wasn't perfect, but the Redskins were still able to get the job done.
Indian Creek came up with some clutch hits in key situations en route to a 6-0 victory over Big Red in an Ohio Division II Eastern District Sectional semifinal Wednesday at Jefferson Lake State Park.
The Redskins improved to 17-3 and will meet Buckeye Local at 5 p.m. today on the same diamond for the sectional title.
SECTIONAL SOFTBALL — Paige Geanangel prepares to deliver a pitch during Wednesday’s 6-0 win over Steubenville Big?Red in Division II?sectional action at Jefferson Lake State Park.
-- Mike Mathison
"Give Big Red credit," Indian Creek head coach Angie Penner said. "They fought until the finish. They put pressure on us in every inning, so congratulations to their team for that.
"Today was not our sharpest game. Paige (Geanangel) struck out nine and walked six. That's more walks than usual for her.
"I am proud of my team. They fought until the end. They had some opportunities. They had the bases loaded in a couple of innings, but we were able to pull through and make outs when we needed to. Our kids never quit."
Big Red was down for most of the game, but the Big Red girls battled until the final pitch of the game was thrown.
"My philosophy going in was that their big 3 of Geanangel, (Paige) DeMattio and (Brey) Mays was not going to beat us," first-year Big Red (12-16) head coach Gus DiMarzio said. "I wasn't going to give them anything. I was going to walk them if I had to. I was going to walk them even if the bases were loaded if I had to.
"I think my philosophy worked. I think they were like 2 for 11 for the game, but the mark of a great team is the other six batters and the other six had good games. There is a reason they are the No. 1 seed. They are coached unbelievably well. Angie does a great job with them. I tip my hat to them."
The trio ended the game 2 for 9.
Geanangel picked up the win. She only gave up two hits, but Big Red had nine players reach base.
The majority of the damage came from the bottom third of the lineup. Mallorie Sullivan, the team's No. 7 hitter, did the most as she finished a triple short of the cycle. She tallied a single, a run-scoring double and a solo home run.
Also, No. 8 hitter Bethany Davis doubled and No. 6 hitter Alexis Monroe reached on a base hit.
Finally, Mays amassed two singles and an RBI, and Geanangel collected an RBI.
"The bottom half of the order stepped up when we needed them to," Penner said. "They got some big hits."
Hannah Westlake took the loss. Westlake did not record a strikeout while walking one in her 3 innings of work. Anna Perrino pitched the rest of the way, recording one strikeout and two walks.
Perrino and Casey Gentile had the singles. Big Red had six girls reach base on free passes while another reached on an error.
"Our girls competed until the end," DiMarzio said. "I can't fault our kids. As we talked about the other day, it came down to timely hits. They got some timely hits, and we didn't. That is what it comes down to. That's the game. That's the breaks of the game.
"We are not done. Big Red is not done."
The game was scoreless heading into the bottom of the second inning. Monroe reached on a two-out single and came around to score on a double by Sullivan. Davis reached on an error scoring Sullivan for a 2-0 lead.
The Redskins plated two more runs in the third to extend their lead to four runs.
Marissa DeFallo walked, Mays singled and Megan Markja reached on an error allowing DeFallo to score making it 3-0. Geanangel followed with a sacrifice fly to left field scoring Mays for the 4-0 cushion.
With one out in the fourth, Sullivan launched a home run over the fence in left field for a 5-0 Redskins lead.
Davis doubled and Perrino replaced Westlake. Perrino walked DeFallo, the first batter she faced, but she was able to pitch her way out of harm's way with back-to-back flyouts.
Big Red had a golden opportunity to score in the top of the sixth.
Gentile singled to start the inning, and with one out Christina Archer drew her second walk of the game. Next, Perrino reached on an infield single to load the bases as Brittany Bodo stepped up the plate.
With the count full, Bodo took a pitch from Geanangel. The pitch appeared to be low, but the home plate umpire ruled it a strike to retire Bodo. Geanangel retired Abby Taylor on a flyout to center field to end the inning.
Instead of being down 5-2 with two outs and the top of the order next up, Big Red found itself still down by five runs heading into the bottom half of the inning.
Sullivan started Indian Creek's half of the sixth with a single, and she came around to score on a two-out hit by Mays making the score 6-0.
The loss ended the careers of Big Red's three seniors - Mallory Giannamore (who was out with a broken thumb), Brooke Carroll and Archer.
"I could not ask for more from them," DiMarzio said. "They provided great leadership. We were 3-9 at one point this season, and we got it to 10-11. We lost four, and then we won a couple more.
"I can't fault the kids. They played hard. I am proud of them."
After some down seasons, Big Red took a big-step forward this season under the guidance of DiMarzio.
"We have eight juniors coming back," DiMarzio said. "We will have a good nucleus returning. We have some good kids in our reserve program. We have some good kids in our junior high program.
"We are starting over. We are going to build on this. We are going to be back next year. We are going to fight harder. We are going to play better.
"I am proud of the girls. We are Big Red. We are proud of that. I want to thank the administration for giving me this opportunity. I would not trade it for anything. I love it here. I love Big Red. We are proud to be from Big Red. We are going to keep fighting."
Indian Creek will now turn its attention to the sectional final matchup against Buckeye Local for the second-straight season. Last year, the No. 2 seeded Redskins outslugged the top-seeded Panthers, 10-7.
"We are excited to be playing Buckeye Local tomorrow," Penner said. "We are going to have to be sharper. We are going to have to play our 'A' game. Buckeye is going to give us a game. Everybody wants to play their best at this time of the year. Everybody wants to win at this time of the year.
"I am proud of the girls."
Indian Creek 6, Big Red 0
Big Red 000 000 0 - 0 2 2
Indian Creek 022 101 x - 6 7 1
BIG RED (12-16): Westlake (LP, 0K, 1BB), Perrino (4, 1K, 2BB) and M. Barker; Gentile S; Perrino S.
INDIAN CREEK (17-3): Geanangel (WP, 9K, 6BB) and Orr; Mays 2S, RBI; Geanangel RBI; Monroe D; Sullivan S, D, HR, 2 RBI; Davis D.