The Wildcats advanced to next week's regional tournament at Kent State.
By BOB ROTH
CORTLAND -- Lindsay Byer pitched a one-hitter as the Southington High softball team came from behind to defeat Mineral Ridge 6-3 Friday for the Division IV district championship at Lakeview High.
Southington (18-4) plays a regional semifinal against the Fairport district champion Thursday at 4 p.m. in Kent.
This was the sixth district crown for the Wildcats under coach Kelly Nelson, who led them to the state title in 1998.
For three innings, things didn't look good for Southington.
The Wildcats trailed 3-1 to top-seeded Mineral Ridge (18-4), with a pair of throwing errors leading to a run in the first inning and two more in third.
Although the Wildcats produced four hits in the top of the third inning, they could only score one run and had two baserunners forced at the plate.
But in the top of the fourth, the Wildcats sent seven batters to the plate and scored three runs on three hits to take a 4-3 lead they wouldn't relinquish.
The big hit of the inning was a single by Becca Derr that drove in the tying and go-ahead runs.
"[Mineral Ridge pitcher Ashley] Ault tried to get me on a changeup twice, and then she came in with her riser and I hit it [well] up the middle," Derr said.
A fourth-inning triple to deep left center by rightfielder Kristy Sabo and a two-out fifth-inning single by Jennifer Brunstetter gave Southington a pair of insurance runs.
"I felt good about my hit in the third inning because it got us going," Sabo said. "When I hit the triple, I saw the pitch real [well] and it felt good off my bat."
Even with Southington's 13-hit attack, the story was Byer, a junior who was perfect through the last four innings, retiring 12 straight batters.
"Byer was fantastic for us," Nelson said. "With the game on the line she got tougher every inning. She'll be our starter Thursday [in the regional]."
Byer (11-2) fired a one-hitter, with the lone Mineral Ridge hit coming in the first inning on leadoff hitter Holly Mills' single up the middle.
It was Byer's second one-hitter in as many days. With her eight strikeout performance, she has 16 strikeouts and has allowed two hits in less than a 24-hour span.
"I finally settled down when I found out what the umpire's strike zone was," Byer said. "We were able to determine their weakness the second time around."
Sabo went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Leadoff hitter Stephanie Hudak was also 2-for-4, with a run scored, while playing flawlessly in the field.
Everyone in the lineup had at least one hit for the Wildcats.
"It was good game, but what it came down to was who made the fewest errors, and they did," Mineral Ridge coach Gene Cheredar said. "Along with that, they had excellent pitching from Byer."