Delavan-Darien's Jaida Speth, an IUPUI recruit, tossed a complete-game two-hitter and struck out 11 Cheesemakers in the Comets' 3-2 sectional semifinal win over Monroe on Tuesday afternoon.
Jasmin Speth got things started for Delavan-Darien in the top of the first inning, lining a single down the right field line to lead off the game. After a pair of strikeouts, Sydney Anderson dropped a single in almost the same exact spot on the right field line to get two aboard for the Comets with two outs. Caitlynn Kirsch then rocketed a triple to score both Speth and Anderson to give Delavan-Darien a 2-0 lead after the first half of the first inning, while Monroe pitcher Olivia Bobak got three strikeouts in the inning in addition to giving up the three hits.
Monroe went down in order in the bottom of the first inning. In the top of the second, Amber Storey drew a walk with one out, then advanced to second when Sarah Hoekstra was hit by a pitch. After another strikeout, Gabie Warrenburg reached on an error, and then Jaida Speth reached on another fielding error in the infield to push a run across, 3-0 Delavan-Darien. Monroe got out of the inning with no further damage done, but trailing by three heading to the bottom of the second.
It was another 1-2-3 inning for Jaida Speth and the Delavan-Darien Comets. In the top of the third, Caitlynn Kirsch singled to lead off the inning, but she would actually be the last Comets player to reach base in the game. Oliva Bobak cruised through the remaining Delavan-Darien hitters, but Monroe still trailed 3-0 after three, getting their first base runner in the bottom of the third on a walk.
In the fourth inning, Bobak would record her seventh and eighth strikeouts in the top half. Monroe would get on the board with some old-fashioned baserunning in the bottom of the fourth. Hailey Betthauser reached on an error at first base, then advanced all the way to third on a throwing error to second base, when she stole second. A sacrifice fly by Alyse Maurer sent Betthauser home for the first Monroe run of the game, and after four innings, it was 3-1 Delavan-Darien.
Bobak would get her ninth strikeout in the top of the fifth inning. In the bottom of the fifth, Alysha Witt hit a one-out triple to break up the no-hitter, then scored one batter later on a drag bunt attempt by Kate Hayes (who would reach on error) to make it 3-2 Delavan-Darien. However, Jaida Speth would strike out the final two batters of the inning and strand the runner at second, so at the end of five complete, it was still 3-2 Comets.
Bobak cruised through the top half of the sixth inning with two more strikeouts, and then came the critcal moment of the game. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Monroe's Maurer reached on an error with one out in the inning. Two batters later, Sydney Updike would get the Cheesemaker's second hit of the game, and both runners on base would advance on defensive indifference. With runners at second and third, Jaida Speth rallied for a strikeout to end the threat in the sixth inning, with the score still 3-2 Delavan-Darien.
In the top half of the seventh inning, Bobak would get her 12th strikeout of the contest, setting down the final 15 batters she faced in the game in order for a complete-game, four-hit, one-walk, one-hit batter effort.
Monroe's rally in the bottom of the seventh came down to the 7-8-9 hitters in their order, and they went down in order, including two seniors making their final plate appearances as Cheesemakers. The final out popped foul, and fittingly, Delavan-Darien's Jaida Speth gloved the final out of the game to complete her two-hit, one-walk complete-game effort, with 11 strikeouts.
Final: Delavan-Darien 3, Monroe 2
-In a true pitcher's duel, the teams combined for six hits and five runs, as well as two walks and a hit batter.
-Monroe's Olivia Bobak gave up three hits in the first five batters she faced, but allowed only one more hit from the next 24 batters she saw in the contest.
-Conversely, Delavan-Darien's Jaida Speth had a no-hitter go into the fifth inning, when a one-out triple spoiled the bid. Speth allowed just two hits in the game.
-Errors were a big factor, contributing to both of Monroe's runs and one of Delavan-Darien's. Four Monroe hitters reached on error in the game.
-Delavan-Darien will face Portage in McFarland on Thursday for a sectional championship at 5 p.m.
WP: Delavan-Darien/Jaida Speth (CG, 7IP, 11K, 2R, 2H, 1BB)
LP: Monroe/Olivia Bobak (CG, 7IP, 12K, 3R, 4H, 1BB, 1HBP)
Delavan-Darien: 2B Caitlynn Kirsch 2-3, 3B, 2RBI; C Sydney Anderson 1-3, R; SS Jasmin Speth 1-4, R; LF Amber Storey 0-2, BB, R.
Monroe: 3B Alysha Witt 1-3, 3B, R; RF Sydney Updike 1-3, SB; 2B Alyse Maurer 0-2, RBI, SB; CF Hailey Betthauser 0-3, R.
Time Of Game: 1:29
First Pitch: 5:04 p.m.
Weather: 91 degrees, mostly sunny, wind 5-10 (out to center)
Location: Twining Park, Monroe, Wis.