Bethel’s Lady Wildcats ended their season in a tough way Saturday, falling 7-0 to Hilldale in the Class 4A state fast-pitch championship game at the Ball Fields at FireLake in Shawnee.
Unable to solve Hilldale pitcher Destiny Riddle, Bethel went into the bottom of the seventh still hitless. Mikayla Whitten thwarted Riddle’s bid for the no-hitter, however, bouncing a two-out double off the wall for the Lady Wildcats’ lone connection of the day.
Kim Herron grounded out to third to end the game.
“We knew what we needed to do at the plate, but didn’t get it done,” said Bethel coach Tommy Block, whose group ends the season at 27-12. “We knew she (Riddle) was good.”
Kelsey Eropkin — who sparked Bethel’s offense in Friday’s 7-2 semifinals win over Cache — reached first on a fielding error to lead off the bottom of the first inning. The Lady Wildcats were subsequently kept off balance, and never got a runner past second.
Riddle struck out 10 on the day.
“They play well. They are a good ball team,” Block said of the Lady Hornets. “We knew we would have to play flawless to win.”
Hilldale finished the regular season as Class 4A’s top-ranked team. The 2013 crown is the first in the fast-pitch category for the Lady Hornets, who won the 1998 slow-pitch title.
Bethel owns two fast-pitch titles — 1998 and 1999.
Herron, a junior, was the hard-luck pitcher Saturday. She surrendered seven hits and four walks, and struck out four in concluding her season at 20-10.
Four of Hilldale’s hits were of the extra-base variety, including a two-out two-run triple that gave the Lady Hornets a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
Hilldale also picked up two doubles and a solo home run.
Bethel was ranked sixth to conclude the regular season.
Hilldale finishes the season at 35-5.
Note: Report compiled by Jason Smith.