NEW LEBANON – After losing a winnable game against Twin Valley South, a resilient Franklin Monroe softball team bounced back in a big way.
The Jets finished out this week run ruling the next two teams they faced. League rival Covington was the first victim by a 12-2 score, and then they travelled down to Dixie where they beat the Hounds 13-2 in five innings. So they really turned their week around and more importantly generated some new momentum going into the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament.
Jet pitcher Belle Cable recorded the wins.
Franklin Monroe wasted no time in zooming out to a big lead against Dixie. The Jets batted around and scored seven runs on starting pitcher Hannah Howard. Howard had control problems – walking several batters and hit the second batter that she faced. In her second at-bat, Kennedy Morris hit a triple with bases loaded to put the exclamation point on the inning.
“We came out really quick, and that is what we have been stressing all year,” Franklin Monroe coach Mike Morris said. “You have to punch someone in the mouth like you are in a fight – you have to strike first, and we did that. We did let up a little in the second inning, but we continued to put pressure on them.”
When the first Jet batter was walked in the second inning, relief pitcher Madison Simon was brought in for the Hounds. She slowed the pace of scoring initially, not allowing any runs in the second inning. But Jet hitters began to figure her out and scored two runs in each of the next three innings.
The Jets laid down good bunts when they needed to and were aggressive on the base paths. They stole several bases, and Chloe Brumbaugh actually stole home on a gutsy play. So the Jets took advantage of opportunities when they had the chance.
“We were watching the catcher, and she was slow getting the ball back to the pitcher – she was just lobbing it back,” Coach Morris said. “The bases were loaded, and I told Chloe that if she lobs it again to go, and she did. She executed perfectly.”
Defensively Franklin Monroe had a few errors but also made some good plays. One exciting play was when a fly ball appeared to be hit over outfielder Brumbaugh’s head; she went into a sprint and caught the ball over her shoulder on the run – a play that would have made Willie Mays proud. That catch stole a base hit and stopped a potential run from scoring.
But the regular season is not over yet. Coach Morris is still making up games from the regular season next week leading into the state tournament. Some coaches want to rest their teams, but the Jets have the attitude that if you rest, you rust. So they will be busy.
“If you take off a day, you are hurting yourself,” he said. “We have to keep that rhythm and ride it into the tournament. We run ruled Covington last night and Dixie tonight. So I am hopeful that we keep on rolling here, and it makes a difference come tournament time.
“I have been here six years, and this is the first time we beat (Covington). We are checking back, and it could be the first time in 18 years that Franklin Monroe has beat Covington. So we were proud of the team.”