Four-run fifth inning leads Ansonia softball past Russia for spot in District Finals


By Drew Terhall

ANSONIA — The second seed Ansonia Lady Tigers came away with a late hit to give them a 5-3 win over the fifth seed Russia Lady Raiders on May 15 in the OHSAA Division IV Softball Southwest District Semi-Finals.

Head coach David Fisherback said it was a great team win that started with his seniors. They set the tone for the game and the underclassmen follow suit.

“That’s one of the things I try to tell my young kids. Watch them learn a lot. Can’t say anymore about our hustle from our seniors. It’s a domino effect, other kids pick up on it. Outstanding game for our Lady Tigers today,” Fisherback said.

Both teams traded runs in the first inning. Russia scored on a RBI single in the top of the inning. Sophomore Ava Thatcher tied the game with a RBI single.

The Lady Raiders scored the next two runs in the game. They hit a RBI single in the top of the third inning with two outs. In the top of the fifth inning, they scored on a throwing error to go up 3-1.

Fisherback said Russia is a very good team, but he has told his team they can hit with the best of them.

The Lady Tigers responded with a four-run fifth inning. With two on and two outs, freshman Addison Geyer was walked intentionally to load the bases. Fisherback said her and Thatcher have been hitting the cover off the ball lately.

Senior Kelsey Muhlenkamp then stepped up to the plate and made Russia regret their decision. She hit a two-run double to tie the game at 3-3.

Junior Jayda Mangen then drove in two more on a two-run single to go up 5-3. Mangen was thrown out at second base to end the inning.

Russia didn’t let Ansonia win this one easily. Momentum seemed to be on Ansonia’s side after senior Maddie Buckingham made a diving play to get the runner out at first base to start the sixth inning.

But later in the inning, the Lady Raiders had the bases loaded with two outs. Senior Abby Kramer and the Ansonia defense got out of the jam unscathed. Kramer forced a pop up to senior catcher Bailey Schmit for the final out.

Fisherback said once Kramer got through that first inning, she was able to keep the Russia hitter off balanced. Kramer wasn’t afraid to use her changeup to get back into a count.

Fisherback said he knows how important having that changeup is for a high school pitcher and was confident in Kramer to keep throwing it throughout the game.

“She’s a senior. Mixed in her changeup very well. Kept them off balanced, they’re a good hitting team. We tried to mix them up and she did a good job,” Fisherback said.

Russia threatened to score in the top of the seventh inning as they had runners on first and second base with two outs. Ansonia didn’t panic and got the final out to seal their ticket to the District Finals.

Kramer finished the game with four strikeouts and the Ansonia defense only had the one throwing error. Fisherback said the team is playing really good ball right now and it starts with the team’s confidence.

“Our girls have confidence. The defense is shoring up, very good defensive game. I don’t think we had any fielding errors. Very proud of these young ladies,” Fisherback said.

Ansonia will take on Fayetteville-Perry, a two seed, in the District Finals at Middletown. The game is currently scheduled for May 17, but could be moved to May 18 as Fayetteville-Perry has graduation scheduled for May 17.

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

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