CARLISLE — The Perry defense chose the worst possible moment to have “one of those games” as seven errors led to eight unearned Carlisle runs and fueled a 14-1 Wildcat win that denied the Jayettes a return trip to the state tournament.
Carlisle (26-14), ranked 10th, needed just five innings as the guests on the scoreboard to end a Perry season that was much better than the fashion in which it ended.
The Wildcats used a walk, a pair of RBI-doubles, a sacrifice squeeze and a Jayette error in the middle of the rally to open a 3-0 lead after the top of the first.
Perry coach Tina Kenney said she felt that falling behind early was not nearly as harmful to the Jayettes as what she felt was a loss of focus.
“We just were not focusing on the things we could control and not getting upset over things out of our hands,” she said. “It is hard to play here because is seems you are always playing more that just the team whenever you come to Carlisle.”
The ninth-ranked Jayettes (26-11) appeared to be fine after plating a run in their first at-bat to answer the hosts. Sid Vancil singled with one out, then raced home from first base on an Alyssa Kruger double to trim the lead to 3-1. Kruger went to third on a ground out, but was left stranded by a second ground out.
Both teams went in order in the second when Carlisle used a walk, a wild pitch and two errors to grab a 5-1 lead.
Vancil singled with two down in the Perry third but was left on base, with the Wildcats turning two singles, two errors and a pair of seemingly unstoppable sacrifice bunts in the fourth frame into three runs to open an 8-1 lead.
Perry showed some mettle when Rachel Kinney singled and stole second to begin the Jayette fourth. She stole second and moved to third after a pop out when Adriana Eastman reached on a single. Eastman was thrown out stealing, with a grounder back to pitcher Sara Scott in the ring ending the danger.
Everything fell apart in the top of the fifth, as three runs, a controversial hit-by-pitch, a wild pitch with a runner on third and the seventh Perry error allowing six runs to score for a 14-1 Carlisle lead.
T.J. Sheehy singled to start the Perry fifth, but three quick outs ended the game and the season.
Scott allowed one run on six hits and struck out one to pick up the win, with Agatha Beier driving in four runs to lead the Wildcat offense.
Emma Olejniczak was touched for all 14 runs, only six of which were earned. She yielded eight hits, four walks and a hit batsman and finished with three strikeouts.
Olejniczak, Kinney and catcher Brooke Huntington had their prep careers end with the loss. Kinney will play softball for Simpson College and Olejniczak for the University of Northern Iowa. Both played as eighth graders, with Huntington the varsity catcher for the past three years. The trio was 96-78-1 overall; and were 84-56-1 after their eighth grade season.
“It is hard to think about it right now, but of course we are going to miss the seniors,” coach Kenney said. “It is easy to say we will miss the softball skills they brought us because that is obvious. What we are also going to miss is their dedication and example and all the experience they had earned.”
Olejniczak finishes her career 88-69 and with a sparkling 1,234 strikeouts, including 355 this season — a total 95 greater than second-place in Class 4A entering Tuesday’s game and mark second-best statewide.
Kinney leaves with 195 career hits and 104 career RBIs. She was guilty of only five errors in right field over her final 110 games the past three years and gunned down nine runners during that time, with the strength and accuracy of her arm consistently forcing opponents to hold runners and not risk taking an extra base on ball hit into right field.
Tuesday’s loss brings a sour end to what was a second quite successful season for the program, which posted a 51-25 record in that span, including a sixth-place finish at the state tourney last year.