LE GRAND - One big swing from Callie Roseland shook the lead free for East Marshall. Seven shutout innings from Mariah Fritz kept it in its grasp.
The Mustangs got a sterling start from Fritz and a game-changing home run from Roseland to claim a 5-0 victory over Gilbert on Friday to advance to the finals of Class 3A Region 3 next week.
No. 7 East Marshall (29-5) could not solve Gilbert starter Kaley Eagan for nearly two times through the order, failing to register a hit through 4 2/3 innings, until Roseland stepped up to the plate with two down and one on.
T-R PHOTO BY TRAVIS HINES
East Marshall freshman pitcher Mariah Fritz delivers to the plate during the Mustangs’ 5-0 victory over Gilbert on Friday in a Class 3A Region 3 semifinal contest in Le Grand. Fritz allowed just four hits in her complete-game victory from the circle.
The junior connected and sent the pitch over the fence in straightaway center field to give the Mustangs their first hit and a 2-0 advantage.
"I knew it was a good hit, at least. I didn't really know where it was going," Roseland said. "It felt good, though."
The shot chased Eagen from the game but seemingly energized the Mustangs lineup, with Paige Miller delivering a two-run single after Ashley Allen was hit by a pitch and Alyssa Whitmore knocked out a single. Chelsea Whitmore than brought Miller home with a single of her own to complete the five-run fifth.
"We struggled offensively, but Callie Roseland's shot was the shot heard 'round the world," said East Marshall head coach Jary Hoskey. "That just woke us up."
Fritz never needed a wakeup call in the circle, keeping the Tigers (18-15) locked up all night.
After allowing two scratch singles in the first, she didn't allow two baserunners in an inning until there were two outs in the seventh.
"She did awesome for us," said Roseland. "She pitched great."
The freshman finished with five strikeouts and no walks while allowing just four hits on the evening.
"She pitches to our girls in practice, so if she can pitch against them, she can throw against anybody," noted Hoskey. "We've got a pretty good hitting team and she throws against us, makes us better."
Eagen was initially able to neutralize a lineup that came into the night leading Class 3A in home runs (27) and slugging percentage (.587).
The senior retired the first nine batters she faced and only allowed two baserunners (both via error) until Roseland's homer.
"We were not getting our hands through and getting our hands on top of the ball," said Hoskey. "And give (Eagen) credit. That kind of pitching was a little tough for us. She just handcuffed us a little bit."
The Mustangs will now face Iowa Falls-Alden (27-7) with a berth to the state tournament in Fort Dodge at stake.
"We're going to have to play our game and not get complacent," Hoskey said. "They're a good offensive team and a pretty good defensive team."
The Cadets' junior pitcher Lindsay Barnhart entered play Friday with a 24-3 record courtesy of a 1.04 ERA. She's struck out 168 while walking just 28.
The two teams will meet Monday in Roland with first pitch set for 7 p.m.