Wawasee freshman Kiaundra Olson delivers a pitch during Wednesday evening's sectional game against Fairfield. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Wawasee freshman Kiaundra Olson delivers a pitch during Wednesday evening's sectional game against Fairfield. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
GOSHEN – The Fairfield Lady Falcons overcame a two-run deficit to win 6-2 over Wawasee on Wednesday in the semifinal round of the Class 3A Fairfield Sectional.

The defending sectional champions were able to score two quick runs in the top of the first inning and looked to move to the title game and repeat.

Wawasee freshman Ava Rush led the game off with a walk and was pushed to second after a throwing error by Fairfield sophomore pitcher Sarah Shank on a bunt by Lady Warrior junior Faith Swihart.

With Wawasee’s heart of the order coming up, coach Mike Barger knew the team had to put the ball in play and good things would happen.

“I felt like if we could get the ball in play, they’ll make mistakes,” he said. “That’s exactly what we did in the first inning.”

Wawasee junior Graceanne Kerlin forced the Lady Falcons to commit an error at third and junior Bethany Flannery laid down a bunt to plate a runner, pushing the score to 2-0 with no outs.

Shank settled down and struck out freshman Delaney Hare for the first out and forced a popout and line drive to end the threat and strand two runners on base.

“As soon as I walked off the field, I knew two runs wasn’t going to be enough,” Barger said. “Those two runs that were sitting out there were really, really important.”

Fairfield came up to bat and went down in order, and the Lady Warriors were put down in order as well, allowing Shank to relax.

In the bottom of the second, Wawasee freshman pitcher Kiaundra Olson was able to get two quick outs and then things swayed to Fairfield.

After two singles, junior Krista Wagler hit a groundball between first and second and it was mishandled by freshman Amanda Jenkins. The Lady Falcons were able to plate both runners and tie the game.

In the bottom of the third, Fairfield added four more runs on three hits and a walk. Leadoff batter sophomore Bobbie Freese started the inning off with a double and scored on freshman Kayla Miller’s two-out RBI single. Shank helped her cause and hit a two-run single in the inning.

With a 6-2 lead, Shank nearly repeated what she did the night before against Tippecanoe Valley, where she tossed a one-hitter and a shutout. Shank limited the Lady Warriors to two hits over the next four innings.

“She started to pound the inside of the zone on us,” said Barger. “We just couldn’t capitalize enough.”

Olson took the loss for Wawasee as she went the distance. She allowed eight hits, one walk and struck out one. She faced five or fewer batters in each of the final three innings of the contest.

Both teams are centered around youth and underclassmen, which may provide a postseason rematch over the next several years. The two teams have been the favorites over the last few years to win the sectional, so they are accustomed to facing each other in the postseason.

“I think it’s going to be right back at it again next year,” said Barger. “It’s been Wawasee and Fairfield for a lot of years here lately. I’m geared up and ready to get back on the field with them next year.”

The Lady Falcons will play Lakeland tonight in the sectional championship.



FAIRFIELD 6, WAWASEE 2

W    200    000    0    –    2    2    1

F    024    000    0    –    6    8    3

Wawasee – Kiaundra Olson (L, 7IP, 8H, 6R, 6ER, 1BB, 1K)

Fairfield – Sarah Shank (W, 7IP, 2H, 2R, 1ER, 1BB, 5K)

2B – Bobbie Freese (F)

Records: Wawasee 8-13, Fairfield 20-7