HUDSON — Nerves are usually a factor when a team has never experienced the pressure of the big stage. Fivay saw that first hand Wednesday in its Class 5A region quarterfinal, its first appearance at that level.
The Falcons fell 6-3 to Dunnellon as the team surrendered opportunities with shaky defense.
The Tigers (15-11) had no problem with experience and seemed comfortable from the start. In their fifth consecutive playoff appearance, a run that includes two state titles in 2009 and 2010, Dunnellon went with No. 2 starter Nicole Drew on the mound.
Drew entered the night with an ERA of 7.22, but her ability to contain damage allowed her to avoid costly big innings in the win. She went 6 1/3 innings, scattering 11 hits and two walks while striking out seven. The junior hurler was effectively wild throughout the game, tossing two wild pitches that set up the Falcons’ first run, but the unpredictability of her location seemed to keep Fivay (16-13) off balance.
The Falcons squandered numerous chances at the plate. The home team loaded the bases on four separate occasions and was only able to push across two runs in those situations.
“They got the big hit, and that was the difference in the game,” coach Greg Bollinger said. “We couldn’t get the momentum-changing hit that they were able to get.”
A two-out bases-loaded triple from Dunnellon’s Jody Weber (2-for-4, five RBIs) pushed the Tigers ahead 4-2 in the fifth.
Fivay ace Jill McElderry (complete game, eight hits, one walk, nine strikeouts, four earned runs) fell subject to tough luck. Two of her strikeouts ended up on base from passed balls and eventually ended up scoring. The first run for Dunnellon also scored on a throwing error as Tigers catcher Ashlee Winn tried to steal third.
Tavares 2, Pasco 1: The Pirates’ season ended with Wednesday’s one-run loss at district champion Tavares (23-3) in the Class 5A region quarterfinals. Pasco (18-6) suffered a first-round exit at regionals for just the second time in the past four seasons. The Pirates ended their season by allowing fewer than two runs in three of their last four games.
Matt Baker, Times staff writer