PIQUA – It wasn’t easy for the Greenville Lady Wave. Their first three runs in Tuesday’s sectional championship softball game were scattered while Tippecanoe had scored abruptly.
At the bottom of the sixth inning the score was tied 3-3 after the Red Devils scored two runs in the top of the sixth, but the momentum Tippecanoe grabbed didn’t last long, and Greenville rallied to score five runs before the inning closed.
“Just a great game for Lady Wave softball,” Coach Jerrod Newland said. “This will be the 13th district final in the 14 years I’ve been here, and we’re going to win No. 9 Friday at West Carrollton – a gold medal Friday.”
In the top of the first inning, Brooke Aselage of Tippecanoe scored after a wild pitch in the dirt from Greenville pitcher Allison Minnich. Aside from the wild pitch, Minnich had a solid inning, striking out two batters.
At bat, the Greenville Lady Wave answered. They started off with a fly to center from Karsyn Shaffer for a single followed by a ground drive to center by Ashton Kester. With two runners on, Cassie Cromwell singled, sending in Shaffer for the score.
With their first three batters up all making it on base, the Lady Wave seemed poised to do more, but Tippecanoe’s defense tightened up with two straight fly outs and closed the inning tagging out Kester on a highly questionable call at home with the score 1-1.
In the top of the second, Greenville played tight defense – three batters up and three batters out. At bat, Greenville piled up more hits but ended the inning with a runner on third and no added runs, leaving the score 1-1.
In the bottom of the third, back-to-back doubles from Cromwell and Alli Hill helped the Lady Wave get back on track – the double from Hill sending in Cromwell to take the lead. Hill nearly scored as well but was tagged out to end the inning at home plate with Greenville leading 2-1.
In the top of the fourth, the inning started with a ground hit by Tippecanoe, which was quickly scooped up by Makayla Hanes and launched across the infield, with extreme precision, to throw the runner out. Once again, three Lady Devil batters went up and out.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Sydney Grote sent a ball nearly into orbit before it crashed down roughly 25 yards beyond the fence for a home run, giving Greenville the 3-1 lead.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Lady Wave played even more disciplined defense. Kester scooped a ground ball and threw the Tippecanoe runner out at first, and then the first baseman chucked the ball back to third base for a tag-out double play.
Just as the game started to slide even more into Greenville’s favor, the Red Devils’ Rachel Rusk scored on a wild pitch and Maddie Gibler batted in Brooke Aselage, who was pinch running for Kaitlyn Stocker. Just like that, Tippecanoe tied the game up 3-3, but it would not stay that way for long.
Lady Wave bats started connecting in the bottom of the sixth with Minnich sending in Alexis Byers, a pinch runner for Jazzlyn Petry, and Lani Shilt, a pinch runner for Grote. Kester followed, sending in Shaffer and Tess McClure, pinch running for Minnich. The inning ended with Kester scoring and the Lady Wave taking a huge 8-3 lead.
“Coming up in the bottom of the sixth, our senior Petry leading off, she gets on, Minnich steps up and she shoots one to the gap to score two,” Coach Newland said as the game replayed in his mind, “then two batters later Kester steps up with two on base, two outs and strikes one to the fence – next thing you know, we take the lead. Great stuff for Lady Wave softball.”
With its last chance, Tippecanoe fell to the focused Greenville defense with three batters up and three batters out for the third time in seven at-bats. The game ended 8-3 with Greenville the victor in a hard-fought sectional final.
“A great day and a great crowd here – great atmosphere – and I’m just proud of the kids,” Coach Newland said. “Friday will be better at West Carrollton – 23-6 and rolling and just can’t wait for the gold medal Friday.”
The Greenville Lady Wave had 14 hits and the Tippecanoe Red Devils had seven hits.
For Greenville, Shaffer went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Kester went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Cromwell went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Hill hit a double and had one RBI.
Petry went 2-for-3 with a pinch runner scoring in her place. Grote went 3-for-3 with two singles and a home run. Minnich hit a double, two RBIs and a pinch runner scored in her place. McClure, Shilt and Alexis Byers all scored as pinch runners.
Lady Wave pitcher Allison Minnich had a great day on the mound, pitching a complete game, with seven hits, one walk, four strikeouts and three earned runs.
The 23-6 Greenville Lady Wave go on to West Carrollton on Friday to play Monroe in the district championship game.