By Gary R. Rasberry
FORT RECOVERY -- Out of 14 innings played on Saturday in the Fort Recovery Invitational, Celina had 13 good ones.
After starting off shaky, Celina rolled and completed the four-team round-robin with a 2-0 record after beating St. Henry 8-5 in the first game and Fort Recovery 5-0 in the final game. The Bulldogs improved to 11-1 with the pair of wins on the day.
The other two Mercer County teams in the get-together went 1-1. St. Henry evened itself in its second game with a 9-1 win over Lincolnview. Fort Recovery started its day on a high note with a 7-6 win over the Lancers in nine innings.
Celina got strong pitching days from its aces. Kinsey Schumann shook off a rocky first inning against St. Henry and retired 18 straight batters until Lisa Uhlenhake tripled and later scored in the top of the seventh inning.
Melanie Heyne had no worries in her game against Fort Recovery, taking a no-hitter through 6 1/3 innings before Krystal Rammel ripped a clean single. Heyne rolled through the Indians lineup to get the win thanks to 16 strikeouts.
Celina coach John Hendricks was very happy with the result.
"Other than our first inning (of the day) I was real pleased," said the Celina skipper. "We won't dwell on that. The girls know what they did wrong. It's over and we came back and showed what we're really made of. We had two nice pitching performances."
Things didn't start right for Celina. Kylie Elking led off for the Redskins with a single. Danielle Kremer then grounded at the mound to Schumann, who could not field the ball cleanly putting two runners on base. Brittany Barlage walked before Schumann got Megan Siefring to fly out with the bases loaded.
Brenda Hemmelgarn then grounded to first, where Heyne looked to force out Elking at home, but the throw was off line and Elking scored with ease.
After Lindsey Thobe struck out, Kendra Buschur singled home Kremer and the ball got away from centerfielder Shay Adams allowing Barlage and Hemmelgarn to score.
After a not-so-nice chat with Hendricks after the top of the inning, Celina buckled down. Schumann didn't allow another baserunner until the seventh inning as Celina clawed back.
St. Henry pitcher Karla Buschur did her part to keep the Bulldogs from threatening. After giving up a run in the first, Buschur and the defense kept Celina from rounding home for the next two innings.
In the fourth, though, Celina finally got its offense in high gear. Adams led off with a walk and after Megan Harner popped out, Katie Kramer singled. Heyne singled home Adams and an error allowed Kramer to score and put Jenna Schleucher on base.
Jamie Siefker singled home Heyne and Allison Hoying reached on an error. After two straight singles by Julia Siefring and Kelli Williams, Siefker scored when the ball hit her on the slide into home plate. In the confusion, Hoying slid past the commotion for another run and Williams later scored on a Harner single as 12 batters made it to the plate in the inning.
"I told the girls they were 9-1 coming in," said St. Henry coach Josh Link, referring to Celina's record. "One bad inning. A leadoff walk got it started and we had an error here and there that allowed all those runs."
That was all the Schumann needed going the rest of the way to register the victory, striking out 10 and walking one. In the seventh, St. Henry was able to tag an earned run on Schumann's line (the runs in the first were all unearned) as Uhlenhake tripled with two outs and scored on Mindy Siefring's single. Schumann recovered by getting Elking to ground to second for the force out to end the game.
Heyne didn't need the offensive help that Schumann got in the first game. The sophomore's pitches were peppering the strike zone with ease as she had seven strikeouts through the first three innings then struck out the side in the fourth to hit double digits.
The Indians were only getting on base with the lone walk from Heyne and several Celina defensive miscues. However, the Bulldogs' defense countered each error with big plays. Harner threw out two runners trying to steal in the game and Celina recorded a double play.
Celina got the run that counted in the third when Siefker singled, moved up on a Hoying groundout and scored on Siefring's single.
Three more runs came across in the fourth as the Bulldogs chased Tribe starter Alyssa Tobe after 3 2/3 innings. Megan Harner scored on a wild pickoff try by the catcher and Kramer drove home Adams and Siefring drove home Schumann for the third run in the inning. One more run was added in the fifth off reliever Julie Smith.
All that had to be determined was whether Heyne would throw the second no-hitter of the spring for the Bulldogs. After getting Smith to strikeout, Rammel singled cleanly over the head of the second baseman. Heyne closed the door with strikeouts of Brenda Rindler and Renee Evers to end the game.
"Mel's been pretty much like that all year. That's her sixth win and her sixth shutout," said Hendricks. "First game we were lofting the ball. We had some hits and took advantage of the mistakes.
"There's some good pitching in the MAC. Tobe kept us off-balanced and Smith had a lot of movement on the ball. It took us awhile to catch up with that. It was a good game, a good day," continued Hendricks.
"We were a little impatient at the plate," said Fort Recovery coach Marie Osterholt. "It's early and we'll get better at that."
Ciera Rammel's single in the the bottom of the ninth scored Tiera Judy to give the Indians a win over the Lancers.
Lincolnview scored four times in the bottom of the sixth to take a 6-5 lead before the Tribe countered with a run in the bottom of the seventh to force extra sessions.
Smith went the final 3 2/3 innings to pick up the win for the Indians, allowing three hits and striking out five. Krystal Rammel and Tobe each went 3-for-4 in the game with two RBI.
Lindsey Thobe pitched a complete game four-hitter as the Redskins evened its mark on the day with the win over the Lancers, who went 0-2 in the invite.
Uhlenhake went 3-for-3 with another triple and three runs scored to pace the Redskins offense while Elking and Kremer each had two hits with Kremer getting three RBI.
St. Henry and Fort Recovery will face off in MAC play today at Fort Recovery. Celina returns to the WBL slate on Tuesday with a road trip to Kenton.