Kenton Ridge and Monroe dealt with postponements of their Division II district softball final on Friday and Saturday and then watched a storm roll past Brookville High School at 6 p.m. Sunday just when they were supposed to start play. Players waited inside the high school, hoping they would be able to play before it got dark.
"It's stressful," Kenton Ridge pitcher Carly Turner said of the waiting.
Turner overcame stress of a different sort when the game finally did begin at 7 p.m. An umpire called her for several illegal pitch violations. She didn't let it rattle her, however. She struck out nine batters as the Cougars advanced with a 6-2 victory.
"She knows how to correct that," Kenton Ridge coach Sarah Schalnat said. "That's the biggest thing, just slowing it down when that happens and regaining focus. She does a great job."
» PHOTOS: Kenton Ridge vs. Monroe
Turner also drove in the first run of the game in a three-run fourth inning. Paige Williams's single scored the second run. Then a squeeze bunt by Madison Hall scored a third run.
Lexee Trainer made it 4-0 with an RBI single in the fifth. Jordan Rucker drove in two runs with a triple in the sixth.
Turner didn't allow a run until the seventh inning. Monroe senior Faith Hensley, a Ball State recruit, hit a two-run home run in the last at-bat of her high school career.
"I'm really happy for Faith," Monroe coach Tim Kellis said. "Her last at-bat was a dinger. The same thing happened last year. We had a girl (Alexis Arnold), a senior shortstop going down to Georgetown (College), and her last at-bat in the sectional was a two-run home run."
Monroe, which was seeking its first district championship, finished the season 18-3.
"What I'm going to remember about this group is a lot of people aren't aware we lost six four-year starters last year, a team that went 23-3 but got beat in the sectional finals," Kellis said. "Then we started the season and lost two first basemen before we played our second game. We basically started the season with seven kids playing a position they had never played before. We got run-ruled at Brookville at our place in the very first game — and I think most people probably gave them up for dead — and we came back here a week later and beat Brookville and then they go through the rest of the league season and they've gone as far as any team at Monroe as gone."
» EARLIER COVERAGE: Kenton Ridge beats Northwestern in sectional final
The Cougars (23-1), ranked second in the state, will play another Central Buckeye Conference team, Jonathan Alder, at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Mason High School. No. 4 Greenville and No. 7 Clinton Massie will play at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the other semifinal.
Kenton Ridge and Jonathan Alder split two games in the regular season. Both games went to extra innings. Kenton Ridge won 4-3 in Springfield on April 18 and lost 7-6 at Jonathan Alder on April 27.
"It'll be a very good game," Schalnat said. "We've just got to be ready to go. We've got graduation coming up (on Tuesday). We've got to remain focused and have good practices the next couple days."