MASON – Clinton-Massie exploded out of the gates on Wednesday afternoon with eight runs in the first two innings, which proved to be too much for Greenville to overcome as the Lady Wave lost 11-4 in a regional semifinal tournament game.
“We left a lot of plays out there today, but the bottom line (the) better team today won,” said Greenville softball coach Jerrod Newland, whose team ended the season with a 26-6 overall record. “They kicked our butt. The better team, the team that wanted it more, the better team won today. Unfortunately it’s not a series or anything else. It’s a do or die, and we died today. They kicked our butt.”
With the loss, Greenville failed to advance to the elite eight of the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament for the first time since 2014 – when current seniors Cassie Cromwell and Sydney Grote were in eighth grade. The two Lady Wave seniors compiled 108 wins in their high school softball careers but each year fell just short of their goal of making the state final four in Akron.
“A lot of teams around the state would love to have that (26-6 record), and 26-6 around her is very disappointing,” Newland said. “Just, you know, another wasted season. Two great kids; two seniors. Bottom line, Lady Wave softball was Akron or bust and we busted.”
Greenville’s hopes of a trip to Akron took a major hit in the top half of the first inning on Wednesday when Clinton-Massie plated five runs.
The first three Falcons all reached base with a walk to Kelsey Carter, a single by Lindsey Carter and a RBI double by Natalie Lay to make it 1-0.
A sacrifice grounder by Victoria Sivert brought in another run to make it 2-0 then Kendall Anderson had a two-out RBI double to increase the lead to 3-0.
The Falcons increased the lead to 5-0 when Claire Carruthers cranked a two-run home run over the wall in left center.
“You just can’t give up five runs the top of the first inning and expect to do anything,” Newland said. “And you know we left a lot of runs on the field today, and they made about every play.”
Greenville did manage to get a single run in the bottom half of the inning when Cromwell had a two-out single then scored moments later on a RBI single by fellow senior Grote.
Clinton-Massie, which batted around in the first inning, sent eight girls up to bat in the second inning and added three more runs.
Kelsey Carter started the rally then Lindsey Carter laid down a sacrifice bunt. Kelsey Carter charged around second and went to third on the play. An errant throw to third base allowed her to score, increasing the Clinton-Massie lead to 6-1.
Then after a single by Lay, Sivert smashed a two-run home run to make it an 8-1 game.
Greenville picked up its second run of the game in the bottom of the third when Morgan Gilbert hit a home run that bounced off the top of the right field fence to bring the score to 8-2.
Clinton-Massie quickly responded again, though, with a run in the top of the fourth. Sivert recorded a one-out single then scored moments later on a double by Carruthers.
Up 9-2, the Falcons added two insurance runs with a two-out rally in the sixth inning. Hailey Clayborn walked, Anderson and Carruthers was intentionally walked to load the bases. Ashlie Miller then brought in two runs with a single into left field.
Greenville did manage a couple more runs in the seventh inning to bring the final score to 11-4. Nyesha Wright and Lani Shilt both had infield singles then scored on back-to-back two-out singles by Gilbert and Baylee Petry.
However, it wasn’t enough as the Lady Wave lost by seven runs to end their season in the sweet 16 of the OHSAA Division II tournament.
“It’s unfortunate,” Newland said. “We’ve won this game eight straight times on this day, and we left one here today.”
Greenville had nine hits and four errors in Wednesday’s game while Clinton-Massie had 12 hits and one error. The Lady Wave stranded five runners while the Falcons stranded seven.
Gilbert was 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk and two RBIs for Greenville. Cromwell was 2-for-3 and scored a run. Shilt was 2-for-3 and scored a run. Wright went 1-for-3 and scored a run. Grote was 1-for-3 with a RBI. Petry was 1-for-4 with a RBI.
Clinton-Massie, who Greenville run ruled in last year’s regional semifinal, now advances to play Jonathan Alder in the Saturday’s regional championship game. The winner will advance to next week’s state final four in Akron.
“They had all the motivation from us kicking their butt last year and run ruling them,” Newland said. “Bottom line, they kicked our butt and sent us home.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4312. 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.