Prep softball: Fort Frye falls

CAMBRIDGE – The fairy tale season for the top seeded Lady Cadets of Fort Frye High School came to an end Wednesday night as they dropped a tough 2-0 decision to the number three seeded Sandy Valley Lady Cardinals in a Divison III final at Cambridge City Park.

“Just couldn’t get a clutch hit when we needed it,” said Fort head coach Barb Sleek. “We left 10 runners on.”

The Lady Cards collected their first hit of the game in the fourth inning against Fort Frye standout Victoria Mimken, snapping a streak of 24 straight hitters retired in a row, before breaking through for four hits and a pair of runs in the last of the fifth inning that proved to be the game winners.

Mimken and Sandy Valley starting pitcher Abbie Hughes hooked up in a classic pitcher’s duel for the first four innings of the game.

Hughes allowed a pair of Lady Cadets to reach base in each of the first two innings but buckled down both times by fanning the last Fort Frye hitter of the inning to escape with out a run scoring.

Mimken on the other hand was lights out from the get go.

The Fort Frye right hander came into the game fresh off of a five inning perfect game at the expense of the Shenandoah Zeps and picked up right where she left off by retiring the first nine Lady Cardinal hitters in order.

After striking out one Cardinal in the opening frame, Mimken fanned six Sandy Valley hitters in a row in the second and third innings.

The Lady Cadets threatened once again in the top of the fourth as with one out Mimken drew a base on balls and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Abby Baker.

Left fielder Megan Liedtke then beat out and infield single, but for the third time in four innings, Hughes rose to the occasion by striking out Morgan Liedtke to end the inning.

The Lady Cards finally got a base runner on base in the fourth as lead off hitter Stef Dye beat out a bunt to start the inning, but Mimken got a pair of pop outs and fanned Hughes to keep the game scoreless heading to the fifth.

Hughes allowed a single to Courtney Allen to lead off the top of the sixth but the Sandy Valley defense turned an inning ending double play.

Mimken retired Olivia Bland on an infield ground out to open the decisive fifth inning before allowing one of only two Sandy Valley hits to the leave the infield in the game, a solid double to right field by Destinee Hughes.

Sandy Valley, led by head coach Jill Williams, then played small ball to perfection.

Courtney Huffman beat out a perfect bunt single to advance Destiny Hughes to second and the next hitter Avery Petro duplicated that feat to load the bases with Cardinals with still only one out.

Maddi Russell then bunted a ball back towards the mound but Mimken’s attempt to get Hughes at the plate was late enabling the first run of the game to score. Dye added an insurance run with the third Sandy Valley infield hit of the inning to score Huffman and make it a 2-0 game.

Hughes retired the Lady Cadets in order in the top of the sixth and Mimken followed suit in the last of the sixth, giving the Fort one last chance to rally for a comeback win in their final at bat.

The Lady Cadets wouldn’t go down with out a fight as Megan Liedtke reached base on a one-out SV error and advanced to second on a hustling single by Courtney Hendershot.

Allen then grounded to shortstop but the the Lady Cardinal first baseman could not handle the throw, bringing the Cadets’ best hitter in Lexi Huck to the plate with the bases full and two outs.

Hughes had one more big pitch left however as she got Huck to pop out harmlessly to shortstop to end the game and bring the Cadets incredible season to a heart breaking close.

When the Cadets and Sleek look back on the game, they will likely point to the 10 baserunners they left on base as the main culprit for the defeat.

Hughes notched her 19th victory of the season, while Mimken was saddled with the loss, dropping her record to an incredible 23-1 on the season. While the loss brings to an end one of the most successful seasons in terms of wins in Lady Cadet history (23-1), the Lady Cardinals (21-7) will now advance into the regionals.