DARKE COUNTY – In the first two weeks of the 2016 baseball and softball season, Darke County pitchers have put forth some dominating efforts.
Leading the way for Darke County hurlers is Greenville softball player Sydney Grote. On the opening day of the season, the Greenville sophomore threw a no-hitter in an 11-1 victory against Milton-Union. She gave up one unearned run in that five-inning game on no hits, one walk and six strikeouts.
Six days later, Grote teamed with senior Allison Minnich to throw a perfect game against West Carrollton. Minnich pitched the first four innings of that 11-0 victory, and Grote came on in the fifth inning to finish off the perfect game.
Just like Grote, Minnich already had a dominating performance on her resume prior to that perfect game.
Greenville traveled to Wright State University on March 28 to take on Lebanon, last year’s Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I state runner up. Minnich pitched the complete game in a 10-inning victory for the Lady Wave, shutting out the Warriors in all 10 frames.
The Versailles baseball team also started off the season with some incredible performances.
In the Tigers’ season opener against Miami East, Brett McEldowney and Jacob Heitkamp combined to throw a no-hitter at Wright State. In the 4-0 win McEldowney went five innings and allowed no runs on no hits, one walk and three strikeouts. Heitkamp completed the game, allowing no hits and no walks while hitting one batter and striking out two in two innings of work.
Not to be outdone, Versailles’ Cole Niekamp and Collin Peters combined to throw a no-hitter in the Tigers’ second game of the season. In the 12-0 win against Arcanum, Niekamp pitched four innings and allowed no runs and no hits while walking one and striking out five. Peters relieved Niekamp in the fifth inning and threw a 1-2-3 frame to complete Versailles’ second no-hitter in as many games.
While Greenville and Versailles boast multiple no-hitters this season, Arcanum achieved a feat that neither of those two schools have accomplished this season – no-hitters by both its baseball and softball teams.
Arcanum softball player Abbie Bruns reached the milestone first as she allowed no hits across five innings in a 13-0 win against Twin Valley South on March 29.
Six days later, Arcanum baseball player Jordan Dubbs joined Bruns in the no-hit club as he threw five no-hit innings in a 16-0 win against Ansonia.
The following day just a few miles down the road in Pitsburg Franklin Monroe baseball player Jeremy Bridenbaugh threw a no-hitter in a 7-0 win against Twin Valley South.
While several Darke County pitchers have kept opponents hitless, some others have come up just short in their quests.
Bradford baseball players Parker Smith and Andy Branson combined to throw a one-hitter in a 3-2 win against Fairlawn on April 1. Smith pitched six innings, allowing two unearned runs on one hit, three walks and 10 strikeouts in the game. Branson pitched one perfect inning in relief, striking out two.
Ansonia softball player Shelby Hartzell also threw a one-hitter this season while walking two and striking out eight in an 11-0 win against Mississinawa Valley on April 2.
Franklin Monroe softball player Emilee Morris threw a one-hitter on April 5 against Twin Valley South, striking out nine in five innings in a 16-0 victory.
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.