Dixon homers, Krzywiecki comes in relief to lead Mercy to state semifinalsSoftball  |
Detroit – Andrea Elmore wasn’t on her game on Tuesday but her teammates came to her rescue and, as a result, Farmington Hills Mercy is making a return trip to the Division 1 semifinals.
Anna Dixon hit a three-run, inside the park home run and Abby Krzywiecki got the final four outs to help the Marlins defeat Lake Orion, 11-7, in a quarterfinal at Wayne State.
It was an unusual game from the start, and unusually long at 2:24. Mercy scored four runs in the first inning and led 11-3 in the sixth but at no time was the lead safe.
Elmore had pitched so well during the regular season and upped her game in the districts and regionals but struggled, particularly in the later innings.
“That was crazy,” said a relieved Mercy coach Alec Lesko. “It’s not what we’re used to. We got off kilter of what we normally do. We gave up bases. Above all that is we kept scoring runs.
“I hadn’t seen (Elmore) like that in years. She was just not on her game. I told her nobody’s perfect. You can analyze yourself tonight but the sun will set and tomorrow’s another day.”
Elmore gave up nine hits, walked five and she hit three batters.
The bottom line is Elmore was the winning pitcher, a fact not lost on Krzywiecki.
“(Lake Orion) has a lot of fight,” Krzywiecki said. “They hit the ball. I don’t think it was that bad of a performance (by Elmore). Lake Orion can hit.”
Mercy (41-2) will play Mattawan in Thursday’s semifinal at East Lansing at 12:30 p.m.
Mercy also reached a semifinal last season before losing to Caledonia.
Mercy led 7-1 after the third. Dixon’s three-run home run gave the Marlins an 11-3 lead and all of those runs ultimately proved pivotal as Lake Orion kept applying the pressure.
“I was looking for a base hit,” Dixon said of the drive that reached the centerfield fence. “I don’t know how it ended up like that. It gave us some insurance runs.”
It was his third home run of the season. The other two came in the Catholic League final.
The Dragons had seven base runners in the first four innings but managed just one run. They pushed across two in the on just one hit and then rocked Mercy starter Andrea Elmore off of the mound in the sixth as Lake Orion batted around.
Krzywiecki relieved Elmore with the bases loaded and a 2-0 count to Sierra Gonzales, and Mercy holding an 11-6 lead. Gonzales walked scoring Kasidy Carson to bring the Dragons within 11-7. Krzywiecki got Jamie Bell to ground out to end the inning. Krzywiecki allowed a single in the seventh and no more.
Mercy pounded out 15 hits with Sophie VanAcker and Mary Reeber leading the way with three apiece. Dixon, Krzywiecki and Nicole Belans each had two. Cari Padula and Krzywiecki each had two RBI.
Shelby Misiak and Tessa Nuss each had three hits for Lake Orion (35-6).