McDonald stumbles in initial regional appearance

Tribune Chronicle / Brian Yauger Chelsey Sudol slides into home to score for McDonald in the sixth inning of their loss to Monroeville Thursday.

AKRON — The McDonald softball program got its first taste of regional tournament play in school history, but the trip was cut short, as the Blue Devils fell to Monroeville, 15-3, on Thursday in a Division IV regional semifinal at Firestone Stadium.

While not making excuses, Blue Devils coach Michelle Titus, talked about how nerves got to her young team.

“They were a nervous wreck,” Titus said. “We have one senior, our pitcher is only a sophomore. They didn’t play like they have this season. You could just tell the nerves got the better of them.”

The difference in atmosphere from a typical high school game to a regional semifinal is enough to rack anyone’s nerves. The change in atmosphere excited the McDonald players.

“It was kind of awesome,” Blue Devils second baseman Sierra Schrader said. “I really enjoyed playing with my team on such a big field. It’s intimidating, though, because of all the people up there.”

Tribune Chronicle / Brian Yauger McDonald senior Sierra Schrader throws to first base in her final game with the Devils.

Pitcher Brie Callow was very excited by the atmosphere.

“It was great,” Callow said. “High energy. It was awesome. It was amazing.”

Megan Ward opened the team’s scoring after a single and stolen base that set up Callow to knock her in. Callow went on to score the Blue Devils’ second run of the game.

Chelsea Sudol scored the third run of the game for McDonald which cut Monroeville’s lead to 4-3.

The teams were deadlocked for a majority of the game until the sixth inning when Monroeville scored 11 runs to end the game on a triple by Eagles’ leadoff hitter Alex Carper.

Despite the loss, Titus sees a big positive coming from this game.

“I’m so glad that something like that is under our belt,” Titus said. “With them coming back next year, they’ll be stronger. They should be proud of themselves.”

With how young McDonald is, expectations were a mystery. To make their first regional appearance in school history is something that the players appreciate.

“We weren’t expected to be here since we’re so young,” Callow said. “So it was crazy to even make it to regionals. We were just learning from it. I feel like we can play harder, and work on our defense more in the offseason.”

McDonald might have lost, but they went down fighting, and according to their coach got stronger every day up until the end.

“They got stronger every day,” Titus said. “They played together as a team. They supported each other and they gave it everything they had.”