Bradford softball team beats Mechanicsburg to reach OHSAA regional championship game


By Dale Barger - For The Daily Advocate



GREENVILLE – The Bradford Lady Railroaders continued their magical season with a 2-0 win over Mechanicsburg in the regional semifinals on Wednesday in Greenville.

In what shaped up to be a pitchers’ duel, Bradford showed it was prepared for a long, low-scoring game.

Mechanicsburg took advantage of couple errors early and put together the first real scoring threat in the bottom of the third inning to load up the bases with just one out.

Freshman Skipp Miller dug deep to pitch herself out of the jam, striking out the next two hitters to thwart the first scoring attempt.

Miller then doubled in the top of the fourth to put the Roaders in scoring position for the first time. Aspen Weldy got the call to pinch run for Miller, and Bailey Wysong sent her home on a single to left-center field, scoring the first run of the game. Wysong then ended up at second base on the throw to the plate.

Elisa Martinez then drove home Wysong to up the Bradford lead to 2-0. They would end up being the only runs scored in the game.

“The way we came back from a few errors you would think that we have a group full of seniors … but we don’t,” Bradford coach Shon Schaffer said.

“We have four starting freshmen, and for them to keep their composure throughout the game and make plays that’s something pretty special,” Schaffer added.

Mechanicsburg held tough behind its pitching ace Francys King as she held the Roaders in check the rest of the game.

The Indians made one more attempt to try and break the armor of Miller, getting their lead-off runner on base to start the bottom of the fifth inning.

On a hit and run catcher Elisa Martinez threw a perfect strike to the shortstop, erasing the runner. Martinez came up big one more time, making a circus catch behind the plate for the second out.

Schaffer was complimentary of his pitcher-catcher combination.

“Elisa is solid back there,” Schaffer said. “Her and Skipp are an awesome tandem together, and she’s made those plays throughout the year. I was happy, but I wasn’t surprised.”

Mechanicsburg then turned a two-out hit into a scoring opportunity with the runner advancing to second base on a wild pitch to keep the inning going. But a hard hit ball right at the shortstop clipped the heels of the runner for the third out to negate the last real scoring opportunity for the Indians.

“We had a little luck on our side with that play,” Schaffer said. “I told my assistant coach that I hurried my pitch call because I was focused on something else happening out in the field and I called an inside fastball, and I didn’t mean to. As soon as I did, I went to call Martinez off, but she’d already called the pitch. And that girl hit it, and as soon as she hit it, I said ‘Are you kidding me?’ I didn’t want that pitch … then it hit the runner and I thought, man, I must have made the softball gods happy because they helped me out right there,” Schaffer said with a chuckle.

Miller buckled down over the last two innings, retiring the final six hitters to close the door. In all she struck out 12 batters, using a good mix of pitches and a deadly off-speed pitch to keep the Indians off-balance all night.

Bradford improved to 22-3 with the 2-0 win to advances to the regional final for the first time in school history.

The Railroaders will face a Midwest Athletic Conference foe in the regional finals this time around as Parkway defeated Newton 12-2 in Wednesday’s other regional semifinal game.

The two teams will square at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Stebbins Field on the Lady Wave Softball Complex for a chance to go to the Division IV state final four.

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By Dale Barger

For The Daily Advocate

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