PERRY 4, ELLET 3
What Happened – The Perry softball team entered the bottom of the sixth inning Wednesday six outs from elimination and facing a three-run deficit against Ellet in a Division I regional softball semifinal.
A groundout to start the sixth made it five outs from defeat.
Then one bounce of the ball on the infield dirt at the University of Akron's field changed the complexion of the sixth inning.
Perry tied the score in the sixth, and sophomore Shelbi Tilton hit a walkoff double in the seventh to secure a 4-3 victory.
Tilton started the Perry (23-3) rally in the sixth when she reached base after the ball she hit took a hard hop and bounced over an Ellet fielder.
Sophomore Jayla Saibene followed with a ground ball that turned into an infield single when Ellet (24-6) failed to cover second base for a potential forceout.
Senior Kourtney Yarnall hit a single to left to load the bases, and an errant throw allowed Tilton to score. Senior Caity Ferrell tied the score at 3-3 with a two-run single to center that scored Saibene and Yarnall.
Sophomore Morgan McLaughlin and senior Sarah Samblanet reached base via a walk and single, respectively, to start Perry's seventh.
Panthers senior Anna Fach advanced the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, and Tilton ended the game with an RBI double to left that scored McLaughlin.
Ellet held a 3-0 lead after scoring two runs in the first and one in the second.
Orangemen junior Elana Mara smacked a two-run double to left center in the first that scored junior Taylor Charles and sophomore Christina Green. Green was running for sophomore Marissa Calise. Junior Jessica Wahl hit an RBI single in the second that scored sophomore Amanda Donaldson.
Perry also committed an error in both the first and second innings, and four for the game.
Ellet, the City Series champion, entered the game with a streak of 41 2/3 innings without allowing a run. That streak reached 47 innings prior to Perry's rally.
Winning Pitcher – Panthers junior right-hander Casi Rohr (20-2) earned the win and pitched a complete game. She struck out eight, walked four and allowed seven hits.
Losing Pitcher – Orangemen junior right-hander Taylor Charles pitched a complete game and is 20-6. She allowed nine hits, struck out three and walked two.
Up Next For Perry – Perry (23-3) will play the winner of today's semifinal game between Madison and Boardman in a regional final on Saturday at noon at the University of Akron.
Perry coach Alison Heppe
On the three-run rally: ''It just happened so fast. We just got rolling and kept rolling. We were fortunate to capitalize on their misfortunes. It all happened so fast.''
''We came back and we fought hard. I told our girls before [the rally] that if you are not going to fight I will go and tell the [umpire] that we're done. … They went up and fought. My heart is still pounding. There was a lot of adrenaline going.''
On the Panthers play in the first two innings: ''They were totally nervous, you could tell. I don't know why.''
Perry sophomore Shelbi Tilton
''We were in the huddle and we were all talking about how we always come back and we never give up and finally we did.''
Perry junior Casi Rohr
''I relied on my team a lot. I started to get a little down with the three runs after the second, but I looked to my team and they kept me upbeat.''
Ellet coach Chuck Shuman
On the three-run sixth inning: ''They got a good bounce and we got a bad bounce on the play, sometimes that is the only opening you need. We did not want to give them that open door. … We got the bad bounce and then we did not make the play on the force out, which just added to their momentum. They did a good job of taking advantage of those situations.''
''I am sure I will look back on this season after a week or so and say it was very magical. The best thing the girls did was the last four weeks, they just came together and really did what we asked them to. … They played with confidence, they played with poise and they played like they expected to win games.''