PIQUA — Mechanicsburg couldn’t get anything going at the plate and dropped a 1-0 contest to Franklin Monroe in the Division IV district softball final on Saturday.
“I’m not real sure what was going on today. I think that’s the worst we’ve hit in a while,” M’burg Coach Abbey DeLong said. “We just couldn’t get anything going. We just couldn’t get any solid contact. She has a nice rise, I think they were just out in front of everything. Just anxious. It was a big day for them and they wanted a little bit of revenge from last year. It wasn’t that we weren’t making contact – it just wasn’t solid contact.”
The Indians were never able to muster a hit, despite a lot of foul balls and some meekly-hit grounders and pop-ups. Two players reached on errors.
In the first inning, Franklin Monroe was able to put a pair of runners on when M’burg starter Elysha Stapleton hit back-to-back batters with two strikes to lead off the game. The Indians backed her up and she settled down, though, limiting the damage to a single run on one hit.
That run would prove to be all the Jets needed, though they threatened a couple more times. In each case, the defense held, supported by a highlight-reel worthy portfolio of plays from the infield and a couple solid catches in the outfield.
“Defensively, I couldn’t have asked for a better game. (Franklin Monroe) put the ball in play and we pulled some balls out of places I’d have never thought we’d get them,” DeLong said.
Jessica Maddux made a diving stop and threw out the runner from her stomach at second base in the second inning and made a sliding backhanded catch later in the game for an out. CeCi Link made a sliding catch and a strong throw across her body from deep at shortstop in the middle innings and Meagan Hux fielded her hot corner smoothly. Even catcher Mary Mayo made a couple of catches in foul territory.
It was the other side of the card that did the Indians in, despite an aggressive approach. Eight batters going down on strikes, all but one swinging. Stapleton allowed only three hits, but got no offensive support.
Despite the loss, DeLong was optimistic after the game.
“I’m proud of these girls. Our regular season didn’t go the way we wanted it to go, but they always seem to turn it on when I need them to. We lose four good seniors, so we’re going to rebuild a little next year and hopefully we’ll be right back here again,” she said.
LEBANON — West Liberty-Salem got the bats going in a big way, beating Reading 16-2 in five innings to win the Division III district softball title on Saturday.
Kenedie Cox was 4-for-4 with a triple, a double and a steal for the Tigers. Kelsey Day was 2-for-3 with and RBI and Kiana Reames was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles. Olivia Ames had a whopping 4 RBI.
The Tigers will play in the regional on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Wright State University.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.