MASON – The emotional high of Friday evening came crashing down on Saturday afternoon as Greenville lost 4-0 to Hamilton Ross in the regional finals of the Ohio High School Athletic Association softball tournament.
For a third time in four years Greenville fell one win short of reaching the state final four in Akron, leaving the Lady Wave dejected on Saturday following the joy of Friday’s regional semifinal victory against Granville.
“When you get four hits you don’t win in the regional finals,” Greenville coach Jerrod Newland said. “Their team made every play today, and the better team today won. That’s the thing in life, you know. It’s emotional high to emotional low in the last 14 hours.”
Greenville struggled to get runners on base throughout the game, only managing three hits and drawing one walk the entire game.
Karsyn Shaffer led off the top of the first with the Lady Wave’s first hit of the game, but Ross erased her from the base paths and got out of the inning with a double play.
The Rams, meanwhile, collected 10 hits to help them score four times, beginning with a three-run second inning.
After Ross’ Ashley Parrett got on base via a fielder’s choice, Elisha Toney singled to put two runners on base for the Rams. Both girls stole a base and then advanced on a wild pitch that scored Parrett and put Ross up 1-0.
Kaitlyn Justice then hit a RBI double and Layne Shields hit a RBI single, bringing in two more runs and putting Ross ahead 3-0.
Ross added an insurance run in the fifth inning thanks in part to two Greenville errors. Ally Ivey got on base with a two-out single and reached second on an error in the outfield by Greenville. She then scored when Kelsey Warman reached base on the Lady Wave’s second error of the inning, increasing the Ram lead to 4-0.
Greenville, which went hitless in the second through fifth innings, got a leadoff single from Allison Minnich in the sixth. Her courtesy runner, Alexis Byers, stole second to give the Lady Wave their first runner in scoring position of the day, but Greenville couldn’t capitalize.
Sydney Grote collected Greenville’s final hit of the game with a two-out double in the seventh, but she too was stranded as Ross completed the shutout victory.
Grote led Greenville’s offense with her double. Minnich and Shaffer both had singles while Alli Hill drew a walk.
Minnich pitched the complete game for Greenville, allowing 10 hits, no walks and striking out two.
Ross’ Kenzie Meyer pitched the complete game shutout, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out seven. The Ram defense didn’t commit any errors behind Meyer while the Lady Wave defense had three.
“She shut us out there,” Newland said of Meyer. “They pitched and played defense. They made every play. Good teams find ways to win, and today Hamilton Ross was the better team than Greenville High School. Hats off to them. Yesterday we had redemption beating Granville, and you know 14 hours later they get their redemption because we knocked them out last year.”
After winning 11-0 on Friday in the regional semifinals against Granville, who last year eliminated Greenville and went on to win the Division II state title, Greenville felt confident entering Saturday’s game. However, it was Ross, who Greenville beat in last year’s regional semifinal, who earned the trip to Akron.
“I hope they represent Southwest Ohio well, which they’ll do at the state tournament,” Newland said.
Greenville finished its season with a 26-7 record. Saturday’s loss also marked the end of the high school careers of seniors Ashton Kester, Allison Minnich and Jazzlyn Petry, who made it to the elite eight of the OHSAA tournament three times but each time fell just short of reaching the state final four.
“I guess we’re the Buffalo Bills of high school softball,” Newland said.
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.