CLYDE - Perkins pitching proved to be too much for Norwalk Tuesday in a Division II district semifinal softball game at Clyde High School.
The combination of Kayla Poggiali and Megan Ramhoff allowed just four hits and fanned 17 batters as the Lady Pirates topped the Lady Truckers 8-2, ending Norwalk's season at 14-14 overall.
Still, the Lady Truckers saw a 12-win improvement from the 2006 season.
"Baby steps for us,'' Norwalk coach Frank Maire said. "It's a testament to their hard work. They worked hard last year and in the offseason. We knew we had these freshmen and if they worked hard, it would start to pay off.''
Cassandra Lesch is the only senior listed on the roster.
The starting lineup Tuesday consisted of three juniors, five sophomores and one freshman.
Sophomore Amanda Reamer led the team in hitting with a .400 average, three homers and 24 RBI.
Junior Ashley Fielitz contributed a .343 average, while freshman Lisa Patusky checked in at .321.
Reamer and Patusky both rapped four triples. Junior Courtney Wheeler checked in with six doubles.
Patusky finished the season 12-9, throwing 145 innings and ending with a 3.09 earned run average.
"If they work hard this offseason, I look for good things from us for next year,'' Maire said.
Poggiali struck out 15 batters in six innings and Ramhoff fanned two in the seventh.
Poggiali set down three batters by strikeouts in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
The junior improved to 19-1 this season with a 1.20 earned run average and has 40 wins over two seasons.
"She's a good pitcher,'' Maire said. "She works ahead in the count.
"At times, we weren't as patient as we've been, but that's a very good Perkins team.''
Patusky went the distance for Norwalk. She gave up eight runs on nine hits with three strikeouts, but seven errors didn't help the cause.
Leading 1-0, Perkins put up five runs in the top of the third inning on four hits with three errors.
The Lady Truckers scored their two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning as leadoff hitter Audrey Ross drew a walk and Patusky singled to left with no outs. After a strikeout, both runners moved up on a wild pitch.
After a flyout, Bridgette Hinckley smashed a triple to score both Ross and Patusky.
Perkins tacked on two runs in the top of the seventh.
Elle McGue's double and Fielitz's single were the other two Norwalk hits.
The Lady Truckers had runners on first and second with one out in the third, but Poggiali struck out two to end the threat.
Perkins (25-3) received two hits each from Leslie Schweinfurth, Ramhoff and Casey Wilson.
"We play small ball, we play big ball,'' Lady Pirates coach Matt Meade said. "The kids work on each situation. With our speed, we put a lot of pressure on the defense.''
Perkins is scheduled to play against Clear Fork Thursday in a district final at Edison High School.
WP: Poggiali. LP: Patusky.
2B: McGue (N), Speer (P). 3B: Hinckley (N), Wilson (P).