By MATT NYE
FOR THE COURIER
MAUMEE — Getting off to a fast start is crucial for some teams in tournament play. Elmwood, however, recently has made a postseason habit of falling behind early and then coming back with a fury.
On Wednesday, Evergreen got out to an early 2-0 lead before Elmwood scored six runs in the fourth inning on its way to an 11-5 win in a Division III district semifinal at Rolf Park.
It was the second straight tournament game in which the Royals (20-4) fell behind early then climbed out of a hole for the win. They trailed Delta 2-0 early in Monday’s sectional final before eventually came back to win 12-2 in five innings.
“I’ve said it all along, that this team can frustrate me,” Elmwood coach Matt Hoiles said. “They are free spirits, and I am not a free spirit. I like things just straight and narrow, and sometimes it does take them a time through the lineup to get going.
“Once our bats do get going, it is pretty tough to stop us. It’s definitely one of the best hitting teams, top to bottom, that I’ve ever had here. We’ve got team speed, we’ve got power and when we start to switch it on, it’s pretty fun.”
With the win, the Royals punched their ticket to the district final against third-ranked Archbold at noon Saturday at Rolf Park. Archbold beat Rossford 13-3 in Wednesday’s other semifinal.
Elmwood managed a dozen hits and took advantage of five Evergreen errors to advance to next week’s regional tournament.
Rebecca Harvey had three hits, including a double, and also drove in three runs for Elmwood. Lindsay George and Madison Arnold each double and singled and combined for 5 RBIs.
Royals pitcher Miranda Benshcoter gave up five earned runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out nine.
Bailie Brock allowed all 11 runs, four of which were earned, on 12 hits in six innings of work for Evergreen (19-6).
Taylor Monahan and Jessi Ducat opened the game with back-to-back doubles as Evergreen grabbed a quick 1-0 lead. Ducat drove in Kendalyn Noe for her second RBI and a 2-0 lead in the third inning.
Elmwood came to life in the bottom of the third inning.
Olivia Myers reached first on an error and scored on a George double. Chelsie Schmitz drove in George with a single to left to even the score at 2-2.
The Royals began to pull away in the bottom of the fourth with six runs, taking advantage of three of Evergreen’s five errors. Benshcoter had an RBI single, Harvey and Arnold both had 2-run doubles and George drove in the final run of the inning with a single.
Evergreen put a run across in the fifth inning and two in the sixth inning to close the gap to 8-5. But the Royals shut the door with three runs in the sixth, with George, Schmitz and Jasmine Marsh each driving in a run.
“We had a ton of errors tonight,” Evergreen coach Todd Momany said, referring to his club’s five miscues. “If we limited those, we would’ve been right there with them. They are a really good team and you can’t make that many mistakes against a good team like that.”
Ducat had three hits, including a double, and two RBIs, while Noe had a double, single and two RBIs for Evergreen.
EVERGREEN 101 012 0 — 5 7 5
ELMWOOD 002 603 x — 11 12 0
WP — Benschoter. LP — Brock. TOP HITTERS: (Ever) Monahan 2B; Noe 2B, 1B; Ducat 2B, 2-1B; Eisel RBI; Brandt 1B, 2 RBI. (Elm) Benschoter 1B, RBI; Harvey 2B, 2-1B, 2 RBI; Arnold 2B, 1B, 2 RBI; George 2B, 1B, 3 RBI; Schmitz 2-1B, 2 RBI; Vargas 2-1B.
RECORDS: Evergreen 19-6; Elmwood 20-4.