GREENVILLE – After losing in the regional finals the past two seasons, the Greenville softball team is determined to not let it happen again this year.
“I definitely do not want Wednesday to be our last game,” senior Alli Hill said. “It’s not an option. I’m going to play on June 3.”
Greenville will play Clinton-Massie at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Mason in the regional semifinals of the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament. The winner of that game will advance to Saturday’s regional final to play either Jonathan Alder or Springfield Shawnee for a spot in the state final four.
“We’re going to refuse to lose at Mason,” Greenville coach Jerrod Newland said. “When you line up and you’re in that regional final come Saturday morning to lose that two straight years and to know how that’s tasted in these kids’ mouths, they said beginning of the year we will not lose that game.”
Last year Greenville lost 4-0 to Hamilton Ross in the regional final and the previous year the Lady Wave lost 7-1 to Granville in the regional final.
“We’ve been there the past couple years, but we keep stubbing our toe,” senior Makayla Hanes said. “Hopefully we get past it this year.”
Greenville is in the regional tournament for the third consecutive year and the 10th time in the past 12 years. Having so much experience in big games gives the Lady Wave confidence.
“I feel like we’ve been in that situation more than other teams have that we will be playing so I feel like we will overcome them for that reason,” Hill said.
Greenville, which is ranked third in the state by the by Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association, will face some tough challenges in the regional tournament. Clinton-Massie is ranked sixth in the state, Shawnee is ranked eighth, and Jonathan Alder is ranked ninth. Southwest Ohio is the only region in the state with four ranked teams remaining in the Division II tournament.
Regardless of whom Greenville is matched up against, the Wave simply want to keep playing how they’ve played all year.
“We have the same mindset,” senior Karsyn Shaffer said. “We’re just going to go in and play how Greenville plays. It’s another day in the ballpark.”
So far this season things have worked out well for Greenville. In 30 games the Wave have only given up 36 runs while they’ve scored 326. They have only made 18 errors this season, and only 12 of those were committed by starters.
In the OHSAA tournament Greenville hasn’t surrendered a run with shutouts of Dunbar, Trotwood-Madison, Alter and Western Brown.
“I want a team to score some, put a little pressure on us, you know, to play the fun games, 5-3 and where it needs to be, but I guess the longer that they don’t score the better it gets for us in winning them,” Newland said. “Eventually if they score three we’ll score four. If they score six we’ll score seven.”
Greenville needs to keep winning because at this point any game could be the last.
“When you’ve played that last game you’re never coming back, you’ll never be in that Greenville uniform again so can’t take it for granted,” senior Lauren Baughn said.
But Greenville has no intention of losing. The Wave don’t want to go out like they have the past couple years.
“They’ve played for all three, four years,” Newland said of his juniors and seniors who were part of those near misses. “And they’re in that mix. And they know how it’s been; they know how it feels to win that game, and they know how it feels to lose that game.”
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.