VERSAILLES — Fort Loramie scored the most runs any team has this season against state-ranked Mechanicsburg in a Division IV district final on Friday.
The Redskins couldn’t quite keep up in a 10-7 loss to the Indians, but coach Brad Turner said the close result is another display of the resiliency the team has shown this season.
“Being able to come back says a lot about the girls and what we’ve tried to get them to believe,” Turner said. “It was good to see.”
Fort Loramie hit two three-run home runs on an extremely windy night, but Mechanicsburg took a 7-4 lead in the third and led by at least three runs the rest of the way to earn its fourth consecutive district title and regional berth.
The Indians (19-2), which were ranked No. 3 in D-IV in the most recent state coaches association poll, hadn’t surrendered more than six runs in a game this year.
They have allowed six runs twice, five once and four twice — opponents have scored three runs or less in the other 16 games.
Fort Loramie finished with 10 hits on Friday, including a three-run home run by Lauren Bergman in the first inning and a three-run home run by Jaden Rose in the sixth.
Mechanicsburg scored four runs in the top of the first, but the Redskins responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning, three which came on Bergman’s home run.
“We were hoping it was going to be this kind of ball game, where we would be able to absorb a punch,” Turner said. “We knew they could hit. They’re a very good team. I felt like we took that punch, and Lauren hit that three-run home run in the bottom of the first, and we had a ball game.
“It stayed that way for a while. They got away from us late, but we made it interesting late, too.”
The Redskins finish 17-11 overall. They’ll lose three seniors to graduation: Delaney Higgins, Aubrey Baker and Bergman.
It was the squad’s first district final appearance since 2015 and its fourth overall appearance.
“We had the seniors put together a mission statement at the beginning of the year for us, and the phrase ‘taking the program to another level,’ was it,” Turner said. “… For us to get back here after five, six years where we failed to win many tournament games, is a great accomplishment. They got some excitement going.”
The Indians scored four runs on five hits in the first. Baker got the Redskins going in the bottom half with a double with one out, then Claire Hoying hit an RBI single to center field to cut the gap to 4-1.
After Aubrey Turner hit a line out for the second out, Autumn Turner hit a line-drive single to center, and Barhorst hit a blast to left which sailed over the left-field fence to tie it.
The Indians had three hits in the second, but a double play helped Fort Loramie escape the inning without any damage.
Mechanicsburg took control in the third, though, by scoring three runs on three hits and one walk.
The Indians led 10-4 after scoring four runs off four hits in the sixth, including a 2-RBI double by Emily Conley.
Fort Loramie cut into the gap in the bottom of the sixth. Bergman led off the inning with a single, then Ella Hoelscher hit a single to center field.
Rose then hit a home run to left to cut the gap to three runs again, but Mechanicsburg retired the next three batters to limit further damage, then retried Fort Loramie in order in the seventh to secure the win.
Mechanicsburg finished with 17 hits and committed one error. Fort Loramie committed three errors.
The Indians were aggressive on the bases; they finished with 10 stolen bases. However, Fort Loramie several times took advantage of baserunning miscues and runners trying to extend hits.
“We weren’t getting them out in the batter’s box, and they aided us with some of that base running,” Turner said. “They advanced on some of them. That’s what they do. They’ve got incredible speed. …They’re a complete team and are very-well coached.”
Kate Ruhenkamp started in the circle, was relieved by Bergman in middle innings and was reinserted later.
Ruhenkamp pitched 4 2/3 innings and gave up seven earned runs on 14 hits and two walks while striking out six batters. Bergman pitched 2 1/3 innings and gave up one earned run on three hits and one walk while striking out one batter.
Bergman and Rose each finished 2 for 3 with 3 RBIs. Baker was 2 for 3 with one double and one walk.
Jasalyn Sartin pitched a complete game for Mechanicsburg. She allowed seven earned runs on 10 hits and one walk while striking out six batters.
Leadoff hitter Addie DeLong was 4 for 4 with one double and one walk. Elyse Wilson was 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs for the Indians while Sartin was 3 for 5 with 4 RBIs.
Mechanicsburg will face the winner of Bradford vs. Fayetteville Perry in a regional semifinal on Wednesday at Northmont High School.