By Ryan Berry
GREENVILLE — Lady Wave Softball is heading to Akron for a final four match-up. Greenville earned the trip after defeating Kenton Ridge 5-2 on Friday evening to add another regional championship trophy to the trophy case.
From the coach to the bench players, there was an air of confidence coming from the team before the game. It was a rematch from last year’s regional semi-final when the Cougars came out on top 2-1.
Coach Jerrod Newland was thrilled with his team’s performance, “This is my 10th regional final game. It’s a legacy for the kids and program. It’s just amazing. It’s our 10th regional final in the last 15 years. Now we’ve punched our tickets. It’s our fourth final four. It just makes me so proud of the kids. It was a great team today, Kenton Ridge, great program. Number four versus five in the state go at it here today. Two storied programs.”
Coach Newland had his team working well and ready to play. They picked up eight hits, including a two-run home run from Zoey Burns in the top of the seventh inning to give Greenville a three run cushion.
Greenville used small ball to put their first three runs on the board. A double from Alaina Baughn, followed by a sacrifice from Addie Burke and then a ground ball from Kendall Cromwell put Greenville in front 1-0 in the second inning.
The Cougars scored their first of two runs in the second to tie the score.
In the top of the fifth, Greenville got a base hit from Cromwell and Kylie Hamm attempted to sacrifice, but the bunt was put in the perfect spot and instead of a sacrifice it turned into a base hit. Mahayla Cook tried to sacrifice the two runners over and put her bunt almost in the exact same spot as Hamm’s and beat out the throw to first to load the bases. Skylar Fletcher was hit by a pitch to get bring in a run and take a 2-1 lead. Burns got her first of three RBIs with a drive to right field to score the second run of the inning and take a 3-1 lead. Kenton Ridge got their final run of the night in the sixth.
Burns also pitched a masterful game and spread out the Cougar’s seven hits. She picked up three strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter. Both teams played superb defense.
Newland said, “Today, Zoey Burns, whew. Zimm played amazing defense, Fletch plays fast and gets some hits, Zoey knocks them in, Burke’s hotter than a hornet that last couple of weeks. Mr. [Doug| Fries (superintendent) said it, ‘we’re just getting better.” And I 100 percent believe we’re getting better.”
Newland said there were a few times this week when some of the coaches thought he should pull the reins back and not work them as hard. “If the kids want to keep getting better, I will let them keep getting better.” He explained there were times this week when the team wanted to keep working.
There was a large contingent of Greenville fans at the game and it didn’t go unnoticed by Newland and his team. “Lady Wave Softball is a drug. Once it gets in your system, you’re hooked. What I like is most of these people around here, don’t have kids. They root for the program. They don’t know the names, they root for the name on the front.”
The Lady Wave will play Thursday, June 1 against Talmadge, 5:30 p.m., at Firestone Stadium in Akron in the division two state semi-final game.
To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].