Jenna Johnston (14) went 2-for-3 with a home run in Wellston’s 4-3 loss to Crooksville on Wednesday. (Telegram File Photo By Todd Compston)
Jenna Johnston (14) went 2-for-3 with a home run in Wellston’s 4-3 loss to Crooksville on Wednesday. (Telegram File Photo By Todd Compston)

CHILLICOTHE — All it took was two pitches for Wellston to go from cloud nine to complete rock bottom. 

Despite leading all game and only surrendering two hits through six innings, the Golden Rockets had two minor malfunctions in the final moments that shockingly ended their season with a 4-3 loss to Crooksville in a Division III district semifinal on Wednesday. 

From a near perfectly played game to the season being over within two minutes, it was truly unlike anything ever seen before. 

“I’m still in shock. We couldn’t have played a better game and we dominated for six-and- two-thirds innings,” Wellston coach Jim Hall said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this. There wasn’t a moment where we looked rattled or out of control. But it came and went just like that. Guess it just wasn’t meant to be.” 

Wellston had no issues grabbing a firm hold on the game. Kamryn Karr ripped an RBI double to center field in the bottom of the second to put it ahead 1-0. 

Two innings later, Jenna Johnston led off the inning and belted a solo home run to straight center field into the trees for a 2-0 lead. 

Two batters later, Alyssa Petersen decided to match Johnston’s blast with one of her own to the very same spot, pushing the lead up to 3-0. 

“Everything was going our way, so there was nothing to complain about or tweak,” Hall said. “We were simply just playing our game the way we have all season. We hit the ball, pitched very well and played excellent defense. All we had to do was finish.” 

With a comfortable cushion in her back pocket, Hannah Potts continued to deal in the circle. Painting the corners and zipping her fastball by batters, she was making effortless work of the Ceramics.

“She couldn’t have pitched a better game. She was in full control the whole way,” Hall said. “She’s been that way all season and only gets better with every outing.” 

She had given up just two hits on the night and heading into the top of the seventh it seemed like not much was about to change. 

But the softball Gods had other plans. 

McKenna Headley, who had both previous hits against Potts, leadoff with a single. Following a strikeout, Sonni Nelson then hit a single. Next batter hit a ground ball for a fielder’s choice, but Wellston dropped the ball to keep the runner safe and load the bases. 

Potts registered another strikeout, putting all the pressure on the shoulders of Crooksville’s Emma Wilson. On an 0-2, two-out pitch, Wilson delivered the biggest hit of the Ceramics’ season; a bases clearing triple that got past the left fielder to tie the game 3-3. 

Wilson scored on the next pitch, which was a passed ball to give them a 4-3 lead before Wellston finally collected the final out. 

“Two pitches, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Hall said. “Everything just happened so fast. That’s softball sometimes, wild things just happen, and you can’t explain it. But I had no doubts that we could shake off what just happened and either tie the game or win it at the final at-bat.” 

The Golden Rockets still had a chance and managed to get a tying runner on third base with two outs, but grounded out to the pitcher, ending their season in stunning shock.

“This one definitely hurts. To play the way we did and finish like this is tough,” Hall said. “The girls worked incredibly hard and accomplished so much this season, but we just couldn’t get that final out until it was too late. Hard way to go out.” 

Potts suffered the loss in a complete game, allowing five hits, four earned runs and striking out eight batters. Johnston and Peterson each finished 2-for-3 with a home run and an RBI, while Karr was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. 

The Golden Rockets say goodbye to eight seniors: Johnston, Petersen, Karr, Nevaeh Ousley, Sadie Henry, Lexie Riegel, Macie Lambert and Faith Stevens.

Those seniors were a huge part of a three-year stretch where Wellston went 59-14 with three TVC titles, three sectional titles and a district runner-up finish in 2021. 

“They’ve been so vital to taking this program to new levels,” Hall said. “I’ve coached them since they were freshman and they’re such a special group. They put in so much work to be where they are and that was even with missing the 2020 season. I wish we could have gotten one district for them, but it happens. They’re great girls, great kids and they’ll be missed for sure.”