NEW MADISON – Ansonia scored two runs in the seventh inning on Wednesday to defeat Tri-Village 6-4 in a back-and-forth Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional tournament softball game.
“There was a lot of controversial plays in this game,” Ansonia coach Floyd Jenkins said. “It could have went either way. The girls kept digging, and they did it themselves. They never gave up. They played hard. They played against a real good team in Tri-Village.”
Ansonia and Tri-Village were fairly evenly matched throughout Wednesday’s game. Ansonia had seven hits and three errors while Tri-Village had eight hits and two errors.
The game’s first big scoring opportunity – and first big controversial play – came in the bottom of the second inning. Tri-Village’s Allie Downing reached base on an error and moments later was thrown out at the plate on a 5-3-2 double play, keeping the game scoreless.
The following inning the Patriots were able to get on the scoreboard thanks to some miscues by the Tigers.
Danika Mann was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Shelby Frech then drove a single into the outfield and the ball rolled under the glove of an Ansonia outfielder, allowing Frech to advance to second and Breeanna Lipps, Mann’s courtesy runner, to score.
Kloey Murphey and Shelby Holzapfel then recorded back-to-back singles, which coupled with an Ansonia throwing error allowed Frech to score and put Tri-Village up 2-0.
“The motto is someone makes mistakes you forget about it and you pick them up,” Jenkins said. “That’s what we’ve talked about all year long, and the girls did a heck of a job doing that.”
Ansonia moved past its two errors in the third inning and got its first run in the top of the fourth.
Jailyn Thwaits singled and Lexi Shinn walked, which put Thwaits in scoring position. The Ansonia senior made it home when Tri-Village had a throwing error to first base for what would have been the third out of the inning.
Ansonia took its first lead of the night in the fifth inning. Heidi Runkel and Trinity Henderson drew back-to-back two out walks then scored on a two-RBI double by Sarah Rhoades, putting the Tigers up 3-2. One batter later Thwaits drilled a RBI double into left, bringing in Rhoades and increasing the lead to 4-2.
The lead didn’t last for long, however, as in the bottom half of the inning Murphey singled and Holzapfel walked, setting up a two-RBI triple by Downing that knotted the score at 4-4.
“You know you’re going to get hit, but we’ve got to hit,” Jenkins said. “I think we’re learning to hit. We’re getting better as the year progressed. I’m just real proud of the way the girls hung in there and never gave up. They were up in the dugout the whole game. They really wanted it.”
In the seventh inning the Tigers came up with some big hits.
Ansonia loaded the bases with Alyssa Armock singling, Runkel walking, Henderson hitting into a fielder’s choice and Rhoades singling. Thwaits then drove a fly ball into the outfield, which was dropped, allowing Runkel and Henderson to score to put the Tigers up 6-4.
Ansonia almost added to its lead moments later when Rhoades crossed home plate just after Thwaits was called out at third on a grounder by Kayla Saintignon.
Tri-Village managed to get one runner on in the bottom of the seventh but couldn’t get any runs in as Ansonia held on for the 6-4 win.
“I don’t think it’s how any of us wanted to go out,” Tri-Village coach Tracy Barhorst said. “We were the fifth seed. We should have had a good tournament run, and we didn’t.”
Thwaits led Ansonia with three hits, including a RBI double. Rhoades had two hits including a two-RBI double. Armock and Saintignon also had hits for the Tigers.
Downing had a two-RBI triple for Tri-Village. Frech and Murphey both collected two hits. Holzapfel, Rachel Miller and Trisa Porter also had hits for the Patriots.
Ansonia now advances to play Houston in the sectional semifinals at 5 p.m. May 11 in Houston.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.