In any sport where teams play each other twice during the season, the old adage of ‘it’s hard to beat a team three times in one season’ always comes to mind.
Miami Trace hosted Washington in a Division II varsity softball sectional semifinal game Wednesday. It was their third meeting of the season.
The Lady Panthers won the previous games, 14-0 in six innings at WHS on April 13 and 10-8 at MTHS on April 29.
Wednesday, it was Miami Trace completing the season series with an 8-5 victory.
The win moves Miami Trace on to the Sectional championship Saturday at 11 a.m. at Fairfield Union. The Falcons beat McClain Wednesday, 11-0 in 6 innings.
Washington out-hit Miami Trace, 11-6, but the Lady Lions were hampered by seven errors that allowed six unearned runs.
Olivia Wolffe pitched for Miami Trace and got the win. She pitched seven innings with 11 hits and five runs (four earned) with two walks and four strikeouts.
Kate Jude started and took the loss for Washington. She pitched 5.1 innings with six hits and eight runs (two earned) with one walk and seven strikeouts.
Ciera Strahler pitched the final two-thirds of an inning for the Lady Lions. Her line was all zeros.
For Miami Trace, Ashley Campbell had one hit, one rbi and scored two runs.
Megan Self hit a double and drove in two runs and scored one.
Whitney Cockerill and Cassidy Lovett both singled and scored for the Lady Panthers.
Brooke Henry had a hit and Jessica Camp had a hit.
Krissy Ison and Emylee Grooms scored as pinch/courtesy runners for Miami Trace.
For the Lady Lions, Madison Helterbrand had three hits, including a triple and scored one run.
Jude was 2 for 4 with one rbi.
Taylor Harrington went 2 for 4 with a double and two rbi.
Strahler had a hit, scored once and drove in one.
Kalee Crowe doubled and drove in a run; Wendy Hawk had a hit and Meghan Tucker singled and scored for Washington.
The Lady Lions left two runners on base in the top of the first inning.
In the bottom of the first, Campbell struck out, but made it to first on a passed ball,
She stole second and scored on a double by Self.
Alexis Schwartz was hit by a pitch and with Taylor Barrett batting, Washington turned a 6-3 (short to first) double play.
Washington went out in order in the second.
Cassidy Lovett reached base on a strikeout and passed ball and stole second and third, but was stranded there.
In the top of the third, Tucker led off with a single and Brooklyn Wilson reached on an error.
After the next two batters were retired, Jude singled, scoring Tucker.
The fourth was a scoreless inning for both teams, the game remaining deadlocked at 1-1.
The Lady Lions had their biggest inning of the game in the top of the fifth.
Helterbrand reached on a bunt single with one away.
After the second out was recorded, Jude singled to center. Annie Semler went in as a courtesy runner.
Strahler followed with a single up the middle, scoring Helterbrand.
Crowe was hit by a pitch and Harrington ripped a double, scoring Semler and Strahler giving the Lady Lions a 4-1 lead.
Miami Trace answered with two runs in their half of the fifth.
Cockerill bunted for a base hit.
Harmonee Napier grounded out, with Cockerill advancing to second.
A wild pitch advanced Cockerill to third and Self walked and quickly stole second.
Schwartz reached on an error that allowed Cockerill and Self to score, making it 4-3, Washington.
In the top of the sixth, Washington had a two-out triple to left by Helterbrand, but she was stranded at third.
Miami Trace took the lead, for good as it turned out, with five runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Henry singled and Krissy Ison came on as a pinch-runner.
Camp singled to left. Emylee Grooms came in as a courtesy runner.
Lovett reached on an error that scored Ison, tying the game, 4-4.
After the first out of the inning was recorded, Napier had an infield hit that scored Grooms.
Campbell hit a single, scoring Lovett to make it 6-4, Miami Trace.
After a pitching change for Washington, Self hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Napier.
With Schwartz at bat, Self scored on an error to make it 8-4.
In the top of the seventh, Strahler drew a one-out walk. Maddy Osborn came in as a courtesy runner.
Crowe followed with a double that scored Osborn, making it 8-5.
The next batter grounded out to end the game.
“I don’t know how many times we’ve played Court House three times in one season,” Miami Trace head coach Terry Smith said. “The first game was pretty much a romp, but these last two have been dog-fights.
“Olivia threw strikes tonight,” Smith said. “The girls played good defense behind her.”
With the win, Miami Trace improves to 15-9 on the season (they finished 10-4 in the SCOL).
“To me, that’s an excellent record,” Smith said. “If we end up going to Fairfield Union, they are a number one seed. They were undefeated going into tonight’s game. They are 24-0 and ranked No. 7 in the state. I think our record out here is 18 wins in a season.
“I’m proud of this team,” Smith said. “Court House gave everything they had and we knew that would be the case coming in. We put them in a situation where they had to come back and beat us.”
“It’s been the story of our season,” Washington head coach Randy Elzey said. “We’re just not executing the basic fundamentals of the game. Many of the errors we made tonight were on basic plays. In this game, when you put a couple of errors together and then a walk or a passed ball, you’re in trouble.
“There are no excuses,” Elzey said. “We just didn’t make the plays.”
Washington finishes the 2016 season with a record of 9-13. The Lady Lions went 7-7 in the SCOL.
In other Division II Sectional softball games Wednesday, Waverly beat Chillicothe, 6-0; Unioto trounced Vinton County, 11-3; Circleville defeated Hillsboro, 9-3; Sheridan downed Logan Elm, 6-1; Meigs beat Marietta, 11-1 and Jackson edged Warren, 3-2.
Offensively for Miami Trace: Harmonee Napier, 0-4, 1 run, 1 rbi; Ashley Campbell, 1-4, 2 runs, 1 rbi, 1 sb; Megan Self, 1-2, 1 run, 2 rbi, 1 2b, 1 sac fly; Alexis Schwartz, 0-3; Taylor Barrett, 0-3; Brooke Henry, 1-3; Krissy Ison, pinch-runner, 1 run; Jessica Camp, 1-3; Cassidy Lovett, 1-3, 1 run, 1 sb; Whitney Cockerill, 1-3, 1 run; Emylee Grooms, courtesy runner, 1 run. LOB: 6.
Offensively for Washington: Brooklyn Wilson, 0-4; Madison Helterbrand, 3-4, 1 run, 1 3b; Wendy Hawk, 1-4; Kate Jude, 2-4, 1 rbi; Kalee Crowe, 1-2, 1 rbi, 1 bb, 1 2b; Hailey Hartshorn, pinch-runner; Taylor Harrington, 2-4, 2 rbi, 1 2b; Maddy Jenkins, 0-4; Meghan Tucker, 1-4, 1 run; Annie Semler, courtesy runner, 1 run; Maddy Osborn, courtesy runner, 1 run. LOB: 10.
W 001 030 1 — 5 11 7
MT 100 025 x — 8 6 2
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1