WEST CARROLLTON – In just four innings Greenville scored 15 runs on Friday as the Lady Wave beat Monroe 15-4 for their ninth Ohio High School Athletic Association district championship in the past 11 years.
Greenville scored runs in every inning it went up to bat in the district final, causing Monroe to use four pitchers in an unsuccessful attempt to contain the Wave bats in a five-inning run rule.
“We’ve waited all year for this,” Greenville softball coach Jerrod Newland said. “We just talk every day it’s district champs, district champs, and you know it’s gold medal Friday. We finally got the shot to line up and play it. Playing a good team that hits the ball, it’s all about scoring runs and doing the best we can.”
Early on it looked like Greenville would need every run it could muster as Monroe came out strong on offense.
In the top of the first the Hornets’ Faith Hensley led off with a double, advanced to third on a sacrifice by Sarah Eschmeyer and scored on a RBI single by Alexis Arnold to give Monroe a 1-0 lead with just one out. However, Greenville got the next two batters out to end the early threat with minimal damage.
Like Monroe, Greenville came out strong offensively.
Karsyn Shaffer was hit by a pitch to start off the bottom of the first and Ashton Kester singled, which coupled with an error allowed Shaffer to advance to third. Moments later Cassie Cromwell and Alli Hill both drove in runs with sacrifices, putting Greenville up 2-1 – a lead it held the rest of the game.
In the second inning Greenville kept its offense going beginning with a leadoff double from Sydney Grote. After a walk to Allison Minnich put two on, Shaffer singled to drive in Grote and make it 3-1.
Alexis Byers, running for Minnich, then scored on a wild pitch, and Kester singled to drive in Shaffer and make it 5-1. After a single by Cromwell, Hill reached on an error that brought in Greenville’s fourth run of the inning to increase the lead to 6-1.
“When you hit the middle of the ball and put it in gaps great things happen,” Newland said.
The hits kept coming in the third inning with another leadoff double by Grote, which prompted Monroe to make its first pitching change of the game.
The change didn’t help the Hornets much as Logan Tabler walked and Shaffer hit a two-RBI single to increase the Wave’s advantage to 8-1. After Kester was hit by a pitch, a pair of wild pitches allowed Shaffer to score and make it 9-1.
The pitching struggles continued when Cromwell walked and then another wild pitch brought in the Lady Wave’s 10th run of the game.
After a RBI single by Hill, Greenville loaded the bases with a walk to Jazzlyn Petry and a single by Makayla Hanes. Grote then walked, forcing in a run and prompting Monroe to bring in its third pitcher of the inning down 12-1. Monroe’s Tarin Yalich retired the first two batters she faced, limiting Greenville to six runs in the inning.
In the fourth inning Shaffer, Kester and Cromwell each got free passes to load the bases. Petry and Hanes then were hit by pitches, making it 14-1 and causing Monroe to go to the bullpen for a third time. Grote singled to drive in a run and increase the lead to 15-4 before Monroe got out of the inning.
“You’ve got to get your pitch,” Newland said. “You can’t hit their pitch. And we really talk about hitter’s counts. When you get in your hitter’s count your average goes up, just sitting on it.”
After back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth, Monroe got its offense going again in the fifth inning.
Natily Meachum led off with a double, Hensley singled and Eschmeyer hit a sacrifice to bring in a run and reduce the deficit to 15-2. Arnold then hit a RBI double and Sam Key hit a RBI single to bring in two more runs, making it 15-4, before Greenville got out of the inning and won by 11.
Greenville out-hit Monroe 11 to six in Friday’s district championship game. The Wave also played great defense while Monroe committed a couple errors and walked or hit 13 batters.
Greenville now advances to the sweet 16 of the OHSAA tournament. The Lady Wave will play in the regional semifinals at 5 p.m. Thursday at Mason High School.
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.