By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald
JASPER — All good things come to an end.
Heritage Hills (21-6) defeated Washington (14-9), 5-0, in the first round of the Class 3A Sectional Monday behind a dominant pitching performance from junior Kaitlin Kralj.
The loss brought to end the 23-year coaching career of Alan Lemon who announced he would retire at season’s end. The game was also the final game for seniors Paige Hawthorne, Allexis Lemon and Ashlee Hayes.
After two scoreless innings to start the game, the Patriots started a rally in an unorthodox way. Hayli Scott struck out, which would have been the second out of the inning, but the ball eluded Hawthorne, and the Hatchet catcher made an errant throw to first, allowing Scott to advance to second.
Felicia Leibering singled in pinch runner Paige Priest to give the Patriots a 1-0 lead. Kralj singled, and Kayala Happenjons was walked to load the bases. Kaylee Zoglman hit a bloop single to short leftfield over a drawn in Washington infield to extend the lead to 3-0.
Two innings later, Heritage Hills got back on the scoreboard. Lemon recorded a ground out to shortstop from Happenjons, but Zoglman reached base when Mattie Graber had a fly ball drop form her glove in right field. Lemon got Cadie Dellamorta to ground out for the second out of the inning, but a bloop hit finished the scoring.
Abby Fischer tripled to short right field, scoring Zoglman, and Fischer came around to score Heritage Hills’ fifth run of the night.
Lemon went six innings, while allowing eight hits and two walks to go along with six strikeouts.
Washington had no answer for Kralj all night, as the junior pitcher allowed just three hits, and struck out six Hatchet batters. Kralj faced one batter over the minimum through the first four innings. Heritage Hills will face the winner of the Jasper-Mitchell game in Tuesday's second round.
Washington 000 000 0 - 0 3 3
Heritage Hills 003 020 x - 5 8 0
Kralj and Scott; Lemon and Hawthorne. W-Kralj L-Lemon 3B: (J) Fischer. 2B: (W) C. Graber.