GREENVILLE – Franklin Monroe had to wait 24 hours to seal the deal in the first game of the Ohio High School Athletic Association regional softball tournament with Riverside.
Leading 7-2 on Wednesday in the bottom of the seventh inning and needing just one out, Mother Nature took over. The rain came and quickly made the field unplayable, prompting the game to be put on hold until 5 p.m. Thursday.
The Jets started off the game on Wednesday trailing by one after just one inning of play.
After going down one, two, three in the first inning, Franklin Monroe responded in the bottom of the second inning.
With two outs and Allie Armstrong on first base, Nychelle Cool hit a hard liner in the gap and turned it into a triple, plating Armstrong to tie the game at 1-1.
Defense and pitching would shine for the FM over the next couple of innings, thwarting a couple of scoring opportunities by Riverside.
The tide would turn in the fourth inning with big plays being made both defensively and offensively.
“We were a little tight to start the game and some of that is on me,” FM coach Mike Morris said.
In the top of the fourth inning Emilee Morris stopped a hard smash up the middle and while still on her knees threw from the pitcher’s circle to first baseman Brigette Filbrun to record the first1 out.
The next batter hit a long fly ball to deep left field, but Cool ran it down making a spectacular grab near the fence to record the second out.
In what could have passed as a replay on television from the first out recorded, Morris came up with another stop to record the third out … and a little momentum to for the Jets coming to bat.
“Our defensive play in the fourth inning really helped get us fired up, and I can’t say enough about the great catch made by Nychelle and those stops by Emilee,” Coach Morris said.
Belle Cable got thing started by drawing a walk, and Coach Morris played small ball having Kennedy Morris put down a bunt and a good one. All hands were safe and the Jets were in business.
With two outs Emilee Morris helped her cause with a double, scoring both Cable and Kennedy Morris to go up 3-1.
The next batter, Kinsey Goins, struck like a bolt of lightning by hitting a towering shot that probably brought the rain delay later in the contest.
Despite the wind blowing it still cleared the left field fence and the two-run homer was a huge boost to the Jets, going up 5-1.
“That was a clutch hit by Emilee with two outs to plate two runs and then McKenzie Goins hits that two-run homer on the next pitch and that got us rolling,” Coach Morris said.
In the top of the sixth inning the rain started to create some problems and a slippery softball became difficult to throw. Riverside would plate one run in the inning, and the Jets were fortunate to keep it that way leading 5-2 heading into the bottom half of the inning.
Cool started off the top of the seventh with a single and then was moved to second on a sacrifice by Chloe Henninger to second base.
Kennedy Morris then rapped a double to score Cool and at the same time break history for the Jets with the hit. Kennedy Morris recorded her 43rd hit on the season, setting a single season hit record at Franklin Monroe.
Chloe Peters followed with a single that plated Kennedy Morris, and the Jets would hold a 7-2 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning.
FM recorded the first two outs and needed just one more to finish the game, but it would be put on hold due to weather.
When the game resumed on Thursday Riverside wasn’t going to come all the way back to go home so easy.
The first batter drew a base on balls and then was moved to second base on a single.
With two runners on the next batter grounded hard to short where Cable scooped it up and tossed it to first base to end the game, giving the Jets a 7-2 regional semifinal victory.
The 24-hour wait might have dampened the celebration as there wasn’t a lot of fanfare … but the Lady Jets, coaches and fans were all smiles with the win.
“This might have been one of the strangest wins I can recall,” Coach Morris said. “We couldn’t enjoy it last night, and you didn’t want to think ahead that you got it because anything can happen, so coming back here and starting off by giving up a walk and then a base hit kind of gets your heart pumping, even though we were leading 7-2 … but we finished it out.”
“What a feeling,” he exclaimed.
“This has been our goal to win a district championship. We’ve knocked on the door three or four times in recent years and now to get a regional semifinal win it’s such a special feeling. We hope it’s not finished yet,” Coach Morris added.
“We know the next game is going to be tough. They have a great pitcher, and we aren’t going to be able to hit with them. We’ll have to play small ball, trust our defense, take some chances and make all our opportunities count,” Coach Morris said.
“But our team has played that way all year … Emilee had 11 strikeouts this game and is coming off a no-hitter in district. We’ve said all year trust your defense, and she has been doing that … it also helps that she’s been on, too,” Coach Morris concluded.
The Jets hope the winning formula continues Saturday as they square off in the elite eight, taking on Williamsburg in the regional finals at 2 p.m. Saturday in Greenville.