By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
LaGRANGE — Fairfield sophomore pitcher Danica Mast knows what it’s all about at sectional time.
“Anything can happen,” Mast said. “You have to put forth your best effort every night.”
Led by Mast’s lights-out mound effort, the Falcons did just that, shutting out Wawasee, 8-0 in the opener of the Class 3A Lakeland Sectional Monday night.
Mast allowed just three hits all evening and did not allow a Wawasee baserunner past second base. She fanned seven and walked none.
The Falcon hurler was quick to share credit with her teammates.
“It was a total team effort out there tonight,” Mast said. “Our catcher (Riley Troyer) did a great job of helping keep us fired up.”
It was just the kind of focused game Fairfield John Skibbe wanted to see in the sectional opener. His team improved to 17-8.
“Danica was ready to go,” Skibbe said. “She had her off-speed pitches working and that helped keep the Wawasee hitters off-balance.”
The Falcons got it done on this warm, muggy spring night without a big inning. They scored one run in the first, two in the second, one in the third, two in the fourth and two in the top of the seventh.
Alex DeWitt led Fairfield with two hits.
With the win, the Falcons advanced to tonight’s semifinals against Tippecanoe Valley, a 9-4 winner over NorthWood in Monday night’s second quarterfinal matchup.
Wawasee coach Hans Griepentrog said his team did not come out to play with the required aggressiveness.
“It was a disappointing finish for us,” Griepentrog said. “We swung at a lot of off-speed pitches, and had too many mental mistakes. Fairfield did a good job of putting the ball in play, but we didn’t make the plays.”
The Warriors will say goodbye to four seniors: Taylor Spangle, Kylie Norris, Victoria Warren and Madi Anderson.
Tippecanoe Valley 9, NorthWood 4
In the nightcap of the sectional double-dip, NorthWood pitching struggled against Tippecanoe Valley.
Six walks and four hit batters added up to 10 additional baserunners for the Vikings.
The Panthers (10-13) got out to a 4-1 early lead in the bottom of the first on the strength of a three-run first-inning homer from Jodie Ramer.
But Tippy Valley (6-18) roared right back in the top of the second, setting the tone for the rest of the game with five runs. The big blow of the frame was a bases-loaded double by Diana Baca.
The Vikings added two more runs in the top of the fourth and one more in the top of the sixth.
NorthWood would not score again.
For NorthWood coach Ryan Mattern, the game was an object lesson for his girls in one of the cruel truths of sports.
“Sometimes, it’s just not meant to be,” Mattern said. “We told the girls to hit the ball hard and get dirty. We did both those things. But we hit the ball right at people.”
Mattern ‘s team loses five seniors: Brynne Flickinger, Madelyn Schwartz, Samantha Paul, Katie Rhoade and Jodie Ramer.
Fairfield 121 200 2 — 8-11-1
Wawasee 000 000 0 — 0-3-3
Pitching: (Fairfield) Danica Mast (W) seven strikeouts and no walks. (Wawasee) Kylie Norris (L)..
Hitting: (Fairfield) D.J. Martz doube; Riley Troyer double; Kaela Miller triple; Alex DeWitt two singles; Alexis Zook single; Karen Schwartz single; Mast single; Raina Troyer single. (W, awasee) Alli Ousley single; Ashlyn Fisher single; Kylee Rostochak single.
Tippy Valley 150 201 0 — 9-6-2
NorthWood 400 000 0 — 4-10-1
Pitching: (Tippy Valley) Kassidy Shepherd (W) four strikeouts and four walks. (NorthWood) Jodie Ramer (L); Blakely Lengacher; Taylor Troxel one strikeout, two walks.
Hitting: (Tippy Valley) Diana Baca double; Mariah Benzing double, single; Danielle Adams double, two singles. (NorthWood) Ramer home run; Paige Hershberger triple; Arika Flickinger two singles; Mattingly single; Madelyn Schwartz single; Brynne Flickinger single.