ARCANUM – Two things were for sure Wednesday night in the Ohio High School Athletic Association second round tournament game at Arcanum’s softball complex.
One was that a team in orange was going to win and the other was that a team from the Cross County Conference was going to make it to the sectional finals at Northmont. The home-standing Trojans had just enough gusto to hold off the gusty winds and the gutty National Trail Blazers, 5-4.
Arcanum got a measure of revenge as last week National Trail knocked off the Trojans 8-5 to knock them out of the conference perch with Newton, who won the title outright. Interestingly enough Arcanum beat Newton twice during the regular season.
Arcanum came into Wednesday’s titanic struggle as the No. 3 seed at 15-5 while Trail blazed in at 11-7 and the No. 7 seed.
The top half of the inning saw National Trail jumping out of the batter’s box with two runs to get its fans excited about a potential trip to Clayton on Monday night.
Ariel Lee, an Anderson University commit, aired one out for a single to start things rolling. Davlyn Werner got on via the error route and one out later both were knocked in by Bobbi Grimes, who ripped a single to right.
Arcanum was not to be outdone and added one to go up 3-2 after all the dust had settled in this Darke County community. Lone senior Elle Siculan got things started with a walk, and Sydney Artz launched a shot to the outfield for a single.
Gracie Garno followed suit by blasting the cover off the ball for a run-scoring single. One batter later Macey Hartman got the Trojans hearts stirring with a strong single to right for two important runs batted in.
Camille Pohl pulled one to left to keep the rally going. However, two of the last three batters flied out in a strong nine-batter performance for Rick Stone’s charges.
The next run to cross the plate did not occur until the third inning by the never-say-die Blazers of Darrin Lee. Ariel Lee again led her troops with a leadoff single and was knocked in by cleanup hitter Grimes with a double in the gap. This knotted the game up at three apiece.
Arcanum almost dented the electronic board with a run before the fifth with a triple by Garno that almost cleared the fence.
Arcanum did plate its fourth run in the fifth as a double by Kaylee Wilcox got the crowd of 75 to their feet on the Trojan side of the bleachers. Pohl got on via an error and Elliana Sloan hit one right inside the foul pole to bring home the fleet-footed Wilcox.
Pitcher Macy Skelton continued to pop in her change up and at one point set down five Blazers in a row leading into the sixth.
Arcanum got its all-important insurance run in the scintillating bottom half of the sixth frame. Samantha Hartzell led off the canto by coaxing a walk and advanced further by a single off the bat of Artz. Garno again came through with an RBI on a sacrifice to plate what turned out to be the winning fifth run.
The Blazers refused to go gently into the good night without a fight. Fighting for their lives to stay alive, the Blazers plated one run home in their portion of the seventh. Ariel Lee got her third hit of the night with a single and later crossed home plate on a Savanna Abner base knock.
The final nail in the coffin for the Blazers was another fly out to right field off the bat of slugger Grimes. This ended the game in the right way for Stone’s stalwarts.
The game blazed along in the 80 degree temperatures with no one striking out on either side.
“Looking forward to Monday night in the sectional finals versus Northeastern, who has a solid team,” Stone said. “We played well, and Trail played well in this windy game that made every fly ball an adventure. We left a lot of runners out there, and we must improve on that to advance further. Garno, Artz and Hartman all played well tonight as it was a good win. Eva Siculan played well out in the field, and she is only a freshman and will continue to get better. We had to adjust as a team to the slow offerings by their pitchers, but we adjusted well enough to get the W.”