NEW PARIS - If ever there was a time to prove dominance as a pitcher, it would be in the playoffs.
Chestnut Ridge's Bridgit Yothers did just that, but even she admitted she had a little help.
The junior fired a no-hitter, thanks in part to a very strong defensive presence behind her, as the top-seeded Lady Lions punched their ticket to the District 5 Class AA championship game after their 5-0 victory over fourth-seeded Bedford in the semifinals Thursday afternoon at Jim Miller Field.
Yothers had five strikeouts and three walks, while the Ridge defense had only one blemish in an otherwise stellar performance in the field.
"A no-hitter in the playoffs is really great, but we play defense really well," Yothers said. "If I didn't have my girls behind me, I wouldn't have had that no-hitter. We're playing like a team, and we're excited for district finals."
"She's just solid," Chestnut Ridge coach Chuck Corle said of his ace. "She fell behind 2-0 on I don't know how many hitters. She came back every time she fell behind and threw the strikes she needed to throw."
Most notably, she was able to keep a dangerous Kacy Blevins quiet.
Blevins, who had two home runs in the Lady Bisons' 14-3 loss to the Lady Lions on Friday, was 0-for-1 with two walks and two stolen bases.
"We wanted to make sure we stayed away from [Blevins]," Corle said. "We walked her twice, but that was the gameplan."
But Chestnut Ridge's defense was even better.
The outfield robbed several would-be hits, and the infield was nearly flawless. Third baseman Kristi Batzel committed the only error when she booted a grounder by Chelsea Territo in the third inning.
Batzel redeemed herself by assisting on the game's final out on a sharply hit grounder down the line. Karamee Fickes made the scoop at first to seal the no-hitter.
"Ridge had some really good defense," Bedford coach Sarah Harrison said. "They played us shallow in the outfield to take away those hits. I needed the girls to put it in play. They did that and forced them to make the plays. They just made some good ones."
The Lady Lions' Mackenzie Feather opened the game with a single to right and later scored on a wild pitch. Yothers drew a one-out walk and moved to third when Alexis Corle reached on an error. Makayla Dunlap drilled a two-run single down the left-field line to give Ridge (15-6) an early 3-0 lead.
The Lions added two insurance runs in the fourth.
"Blevins threw a very nice game," Corle said of the Bedford senior who struck out six and walked four in a four-hitter. "We didn't see her either time we played them. We knew we were going to see her today. She throws hard. She held us down, but we scratched and punch and did anything we could to get the runs."
Each of the four base runners the Lady Bisons (5-12) had were stranded in scoring position.
"I think we had a good, solid showing," Harrison said. "It was a really decent game. We just couldn't get the hits to fall.
"I'm proud of the girls. That's our best showing against Ridge this season and in the past couple of years, so we're happy with it. We wish we would have come out on the winning end, but we did what we could."
Chestnut Ridge advances to play second-seeded Everett in next week's title game.
The Lady Warriors knocked off third-seeded Windber, 16-8, in Thursday's other semifinal.
Everett and Ridge split a pair of regular-season meetings, each winning on the opponent's home field.
"We're looking forward to it," Corle said. "We're just hoping to win it."
BEDFORD: Territo 2b 300, Nave cf 300, Blevins p 100, Simon lf 300, Secrest 1b 300, Rush dp 300, Arnold ss 000, Gronborg 3b 200, Cassidy cr 000, Krupa c 200, Mueller rf 200. Totals 22-0-0.
CHESTNUT RIDGE: Feather ss 211, Carthew 2b 200, Yothers p 210, Corle lf 310, Dunlap cf 301, Knisely dp 300, Batzel 3b 000, J. Fickes c 300, K. Fickes 1b 201, Weyant pr 010, Neatrour rf 311. Totals 23-5-4.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Bedford000 000 0 - 0 0 2
Chestnut Ridge300 200 X - 5 4 1
E-Blevins, Arnold, Batzel. LOB-Bedford 4, Chestnut Ridge 5. RBI-Carthew, Dunlap 2. SAC-Carthew. SB-Territo, Blevins 2, Feather 2, Dunlap.
Bedford-Blevins (L), 6 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO.
Chestnut Ridge-Yothers (W), 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO.
WP-Blevins 2, Yothers 2. PB-Krupa 2.
Records: Bedford (5-12), Chestnut Ridge (15-6).