ST. PARIS – Graham shook off an early threat from Urbana and went on to beat the Hillclimbers, 10-0, in five innings during Tuesday’s Division II sectional softball tournament.
Graham’s Madison Bryant settled down after a wild first inning, striking out nine batters over her five inning no-hitter. Bryant walked a batter who eventually wound up on third base after a sacrifice and a passed ball. The Hillclimbers were unable to make Bryant pay for the mistake.
“I thought we were a little timid at the plate,” UHS Coach Aaron Pittsenbarger said. “We practice hitting her speed and everything else. Right now we’re just young and we don’t know.”
Graham responded right away with a trio of runs in the bottom of the frame, as Ashton Curnutte doubled in a pair.
Both teams are young, but despite that relative inexperience, Graham broke the game open in the third with five runs.
Mackenzie Smith led off with a triple, then Bryant blasted a two-run homer. The Falcons loaded the bases later in the inning, with Olivia Burr scorching a single into the outfield that plated a pair of runners.
“I’m hoping the nerves are out of the way now with the girls. We can compete in any game,” GHS Coach Ralph Foster said. “Madison is a solid pitcher and she’s an all-around solid athlete for us. There’s times that she does get rattled, but she gathers herself in the dugout and comes back out and takes care of business.”
The Falcons again scored in the fourth, adding two runs to put them in position to end the game in the fifth.
Smith once again led with a triple, followed by Bryant getting an RBI single when a high pop up landed between three Urbana fielders.
Bryant finished the game with three strikeouts in the fifth, giving her 532 for her career – a school record. She was 2-for-2 with a league-leading 10th home run of the season and 3 RBI at the plate. The dinger was her 15th career long ball – also a school record, though she shares this one.
Smith was 2-for-3 with a pair of triples, Curnutte was 2-for-2 with a double and 2 RBI, Skylar Doroda was 2-for-3, Madi Vanscoy was 1-for-1 with 2 RBI and Olivia Burr was 1-for-3 with 2 RBI.
With the loss, Urbana finishes the season 2-21.
“The season’s not what we wanted, but I’m hopeful for the future. It may take a couple of years, but we started some things I think we can hang our hat on,” Pittsenbarger said.
Graham advances to play Shawnee on the road Thursday.
“It doesn’t matter what team it is, each practice, we prepare for the next team. We’re taking it one game at a time,” Foster said. “We played and prepared for Urbana, and now we prepare for Shawnee. It’s going to be a battle.”
After the game, Graham honored seniors Smith and Alli Neeld, since weather had postponed Senior Night festivities.
Graham baseball falls
SPRINGFIELD – Kenton Ridge defeated Graham, 3-1, in Division II sectional baseball on Tuesday.
Logan Black was 2-for-3 with a double for the Falcons, while LT Thompson knocked in the lone run.
Urbana baseball loses
SPRINGFIELD – Shawnee beat Urbana, 7-5, in Division II sectional baseball on Tuesday.
The Hillclimbers took a 5-1 lead after the second inning, but allowed six runs over the next two innings, finishing with five errors.
Offensively, Tyler Weekley was 2-for-3 for Urbana. Brayden Fain was 1-for-1 with an RBI and three walks, Logan Rooney had a pair of RBI, Kaleb Bowdle had an RBI and Gabe Spiers had an RBI. Seth Mangus doubled.
Caleb Peterson started for Urbana, striking out nine batters over four innings of work. He allowed all seven runs, but only one was earned.
OHC track prelims
The West Liberty-Salem girls took an early lead in day one of the North Division Ohio Heritage Conference Track Championships on Monday.
Fairbanks was in second, Mechanicsburg was third, Catholic Central was fourth and Triad was fifth.
The Tigers’ 4×800 relay team of Grace Adams, Katie Hartsel, Payton Umphries and Reghan Bieleski set the tone early, winning the event in 10:16.05. Also placing first were Janie Kopus in the high jump (4-10) and Lydia Moell in pole vault (9-0). Placing second for WL-S were Megan Dillon in pole vault (9-0) and Jenna Magnuson in discus (86-09). Savannah Weaver chipped in a third place in the high jump (4-04).
Finals will be held Thursday with field events starting at 5 p.m. and running events at 6:30 p.m.
Urbana’s Andrew Fansler and Bailey Ullah beat Northwestern’s Nathan Wildofsky and Connor Smyczewk, 6-2, 6-2, to advance to the round of 16 at the sectional tournament. Their next match will be on Friday and their opponent will be the Lehman Catholic team of Ritze and Goettemoeller, the No. 3 seed.
Urbana’s Trevor Johnson lost to Northeastern’s Jacob Calhoun, 6-0, 6-0.
UHS will play at Greenon today to finish the regular season.
All other sectional matches will be played on Friday at Troy.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.