By GREG MENGELT
Evansville Mater Dei scored five times in the first inning and Providence couldn’t solve Wildcat hurler Carolyn Wilmes in a 6-0 Forest Park Semistate loss on Monday.
Wilmes allowed just one hit and two base runners and struck out 11 Pioneers as No. 1 Mater Dei advanced to Monday’s Forest Park Semistate championship game against Indianapolis Scecina.
“I’m not sure anybody can beat that team with her in the circle.” Providence manager Sean Payne said of Wilmes. “She’s had six no-hitters this year, so she’s obviously really good.”
Mater Dei did most of its damage against Providence starter Meredith Endris in the first inning. The Wildcats strung together five singles and had five different players knock in a run in the frame.
The Wildcats added a single run in the fifth to take a 6-0 lead.
“They never hit the ball hard,” Payne said. “The balls were weakly-hit balls. It is what it is. It’s part of the game. They all look like line drives in the scorebook, but giving up five runs in the first inning really hurt.
“I feel like we did go toe-to-toe with them. I think we hit the ball harder than they did, but it was just right to people. We made some good contact.”
Despite the hard-hit balls, Providence had trouble getting anything going. In the fifth inning, Jordyn Stengel reached on a Wilmes error but she was thrown out trying to make it to third base.
“We just told them we had to keep attacking,” Payne said. “That’s our personality as a team. We had an opportunity to score and I was aggressive on the error. We had opportunities, we just never had enough to come back from that five-run deficit.”
Later in the frame, Jacquie Hornung’s single became the Pioneers’ only base hit of the contest.
Providence bids farewell to four seniors — Endris, Morgan Boone, Stephanie Morris and Kristan Markland, who pitched the final two innings on Monday. It’s a senior class that helped the 2013 Pioneers become the first team in Providence history to win back-to-back sectional titles.
“They came in as freshmen and the program was still trying to find our footing after a couple of down years,” Payne said with tears welling in his eyes. “It’s no conincidence. Those ladies have gotten us to this point. Those are four of the best seniors anybody could ask for.”
CLASS 2A FOREST PARK SEMISTATE
EVANSVILLE MATER DEI 6, PROVIDENCE 0
Mater Dei 500 010 0—6 11 1
Providence 000 000 0—0 1 2
W — Carolyn Wilmes. L — Meredith Endris (10-3).
Records — Evansville Mater Dei 29-2, Providence 22-10.