Franklin Monroe softball holds off Bradford for road win


By Drew Terhall

BRADFORD — The Franklin Monroe and Bradford softball teams lit up the scoreboard in a WOAC matchup on April 17. The Lady Jets came away with a 16-13 road victory over the Lady Railroaders after they held off a comeback attempt by Bradford.

Franklin Monroe head coach Jared Morris said Bradford deserves credit for battling back from a double-digit deficit and making his team work to close out the game.

“We got a little complacent there late when we felt like we had the 11-run lead. We thought we were good. But, credit to them (Bradford). They had at least five hits that inning that were able to move the runners. We gave them a few on the bases but they did a great job of doing what they needed to do,” Morris said.

Bradford scored eight runs in the final two innings, including a seven-run sixth inning to avoid getting run-ruled. Bradford head coach Shon Schaffer said after being down early, emotions started to take over. But, his gave credit to his team for regrouping and getting the bats going.

“We are a good hitting team. But as young as we are, emotions dictate talent when you’re a freshman and playing in this environment, league game. It was kind of rough at the beginning. We got the girls to focus in on one thing and we started to come alive,” Schaffer said.

After scoring one run at Tri-County North the previous game, Franklin Monroe scored five runs in the first inning. Senior Joanie Hall and junior Lila Davis each drove in a run. Senior Jocelyn Gray hit a three-run home run to cap off the scoring.

Freshman Chloe Hocker hit a sacrifice groundout in the bottom of the first to get Bradford on the board.

Franklin Monroe added on another run in the second inning on a solo home run by senior Olivia Sease.

Hall said they have a team full of hitters, but also a team that is fighting through some mental blocks. But if the team can come into the game relaxed and with high levels of energy, they can light up the scoreboard.

“It’s all about energy. When the girls are coming into the game with good energy, then it leads out onto the field. That’s how we score all of those runs, just from having fun even before we step onto the field,” Hall said.

Bradford inched closer to Franklin Monroe in the bottom of the second and third innings. Senior Alani Canan and freshmen Lilly Canan and Kendal Weldy each drove in a run to make it a 6-4 game.

The Lady Jets got the bats out again in the top of the fourth with a seven-run inning. Hall drove in the first run of the inning on a sacrifice flyout. Davis had two-run double. Gray and sophomore Alivia Addis each had a RBI single.

Freshman Faith Wintrow capped off the inning with a two-run home run to put Franklin Monroe up 13-4.

Sease said when that positive energy is there, the hitting-bug can spread throughout the lineup.

“It’s nice to play against a team that’s comparable to us. It’s not easy to go out there and get a win. Once we hit one, we just kept going. It was contagious,” Sease said.

Schaffer did bring in three pitchers during the game and takes responsibilities for some of the runs Franklin Monroe scored. He is still learning everyone’s talents and how everyone fits together.

“How I was managing the pitching probably wasn’t the best. I’ll take a little bit of those runs off the board and say that was my fault. You do what you think is right at the time. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll take that lump,” Schaffer said.

Alani Canan scored a run in the bottom of the fifth inning to make it a 13-5 game. But Franklin Monroe scored three runs to go up 16-5. Gray and Sease each drove in a run.

Down to what could have been their last three outs, Bradford put up seven runs to give themselves another chance to comeback and win the game.

Senior Tegan Canan and Alani Canan each had a two-run single. With bases loaded, Hocker cleared the bases with a double and Bradford left the sixth inning only down 16-12.

They held Franklin Monroe scoreless and got back to work at the plate. Alani Canan drove in her fifth run of the game and it was 16-13 with two outs and the game-tying run at the plate.

Gray said games like these taught them to not be complacent and keep the pressure up even when up big. In that final inning, Gray said they would get through that inning with the win if the team can believe in each other on the field and say calm.

If anyone shows that they are nervous, that can spread to the team. But, everyone believed in each other and got that final out.

“It’s definitely nerve-racking. But I think the point of it is that you have to trust who you’re beside or else that’s when you have errors,” Gray said.

Senior Keihl Johnson pitched 5.1 innings and had five strikeouts. Tegan Canan, sophomore Casey Bolen and freshman Vivian Harlemen each had a strikeout in at least two innings pitched.

Schaffer said they are a talented, but young team that are still learning from each other and learning about each other. That includes the coaches as well.

But right now, the Lady Railroaders are embracing the process and are already showing signs of improvement.

“We got 27 games to get better at the end. We’re better than we were when we played Springfield Shawnee the first game. It’s just a process, a sucky process, of getting thumped on and learning from these games,” Schaffer said.

Bradford is 4-7 on the season with a 2-3 WOAC record. They will head to Arcanum next on April 18 for a 5 p.m. first pitch.

Franklin Monroe is 4-11 on the season with a 3-2 WOAC record. They will host Newton on April 18 at 5 p.m.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected].

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