PLEASANT HILL – Franklin Monroe scored five runs in the sixth inning then held off a Southeastern rally in the seventh to win 8-6 in Tuesday’s Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional championship game.
Tuesday’s game was a roller coaster for Franklin Monroe with the Jets having to overcome an early 3-0 deficit, come back from a 4-3 deficit in the sixth inning and then hold off a final push from Southeastern.
FM softball coach Mike Morris admitted he was a little worried late in the game, but his team was able to pull out the victory for its fourth sectional title in the past five years.
“We didn’t quit,” Coach Morris said. “We showed a lot of heart today.”
Franklin Monroe got off to a rocky start as Southeastern scored three runs in the top half of the first inning.
The game began with Southeastern’s Leslie Flores reaching base on an error and Julie Myers reaching on a bunt single. Maddy McKee then put the Trojans up 1-0 with a run-scoring double, and Rylee Harrington made it 3-0 with a two-run double.
The Jets responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Kennedy Morris led off with a double and scored on a one-out RBI double by Emilee Morris.
Kinsey Goins then was hit by a pitch and Brigette Filbrun reached on an error, which loaded the bases. Southeastern got the second out of the inning on a fielder’s choice at home, but then allowed Goins to score on a passed ball, reducing the FM deficit to 3-2.
The Jets tied the game in the bottom of the second.
Chloe Henninger led off with a single and made it to third when Belle Cable reached base on an error. Kennedy Morris then drove in Henninger with a sacrifice fly, knotting the score at 3-3.
The score remained 3-3 for the next three innings as both teams missed out on scoring opportunities. Franklin Monroe stranded two in the third inning then stranded one in the fourth after hitting into an inning-ending double play, and Southeastern stranded two runners in the fifth inning.
But in the sixth inning the scoring picked back up.
In the top of the sixth Southeastern had the bases loaded with no outs with a single by Harrington, an error on a Logan McFann and a walk to Alessa Deal.
Emilee Morris struck out the next two batters, and FM appeared to be out of the inning with an infield grounder, but an error allowed Harrington to score and put Southeastern up 4-3. The Jets were able to limit the damage and left the bases loaded.
In the bottom of the sixth Franklin Monroe put together its best inning to take its first lead of the night.
Nychelle Cool walked, Henninger reached on an error and Cable singled to drive in Cool and knot the score at 4-4 with no outs.
After a walk to Kennedy Morris then loaded the bases, Southeastern got the first out of the inning on a fielder’s choice at home. The Jets then took the lead with a sacrifice fly by Emilee Morris, putting them up 5-4.
Goins then drove in two runs with a single into right, and Filbrun drove in one with a double into left center, giving Franklin Monroe an 8-4 lead heading into the seventh inning.
“That was huge,” Coach Morris said. “We had a big hit with Kinsey Goins I think got that two-out, two-RBI hit to give us those two extra runs that we needed.”
Southeastern didn’t give up and led off the seventh inning with a home run by Avery Shepherd to make it 8-5.
Harrington then recorded a one-out double and McFann singled to put two runners on base and bring the potential tying run to the plate. After a pop-up for the second out of the inning, Olivia Workman hit a RBI single into center to make it 8-6 and put the potential tying run on base.
“They come out and they start hitting like they was I was getting a little nervous there,” Coach Morris said. “But we don’t give up, and that’s what you’ve got to have to keep advancing in the tournament.”
Franklin Monroe got out of the jam as Emilee Morris got a strikeout to end the game and give the Jets the sectional championship victory.
Southeastern out-hit Franklin Monroe 11 to nine, but the Trojans stranded nine runners while the Jets stranded seven. Both teams committed three errors.
Kennedy Morris had two doubles and also had a sacrifice fly. Filbrun had two hits including a double. Emilee Morris had a RBI double and a sac fly. Cable, Goins, Henninger and Chloe Peters also had hits for the Jets.
Franklin Monroe now advances to play Mechanicsburg at 5 p.m. Friday at Piqua in the district finals.
“Hopefully we can just continue to roll here and bring home a district,” Coach Morris 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.