High School softball: Miamisburg falls in district final; Beavercreek advances to regionals

Miamisburg's Amariah Hoerner fires a pitch during Thursday's Division I softball district final at Kings High School. Hoerner struck out four and allowed seven hits. Western Brown came from behind to win 3-2. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED
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Miamisburg's Amariah Hoerner fires a pitch during Thursday's Division I softball district final at Kings High School. Hoerner struck out four and allowed seven hits. Western Brown came from behind to win 3-2. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

KINGS MILLS – After the first game of the season, Miamisburg softball coach Dan Kepple met with his team in the outfield. The Vikings had just beaten Centerville, and he wanted them to know what he had been thinking as he watched them prepare for the season.

“Girls, I don’t see a reason for you to lose a game all year,” he told them.

On Thursday, Kepple met with his team in the outfield again. This time the conversation was about heartbreak. The Vikings, the top seed and ranked No. 3 in the state coaches poll, had just lost 3-2 to Western Brown in a Division I district final at Kings High School.

“We saw us going further than this,” Kepple said.

The Vikings (24-1) almost did. After losing the lead in the sixth and seventh innings, they loaded the bases with one out on singles by Jayleigh Thomas and Grace Dyer and an intentional walk to Alex Miller. Next, Chandler Hoskins struck out on a check swing that the umpire ruled was enough of a swing to count.

“Bad calls are part of the game,” Kepple said.

Then Kamryn Brooks hit a fly ball to left that was caught up against the fence to end the game.

“The team was excited from the very first pitch,” Kepple said. “I don’t think any single person in this dugout thought we were going to come up short in this game.”

Western Brown (25-1, No. 4 in the state) will play Beavercreek (24-4) in a regional semifinal at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Centerville High School. The Beavers scored single runs in the second and fourth innings to defeat Kings 2-0 on Thursday at Mason High School for their third district title and first since 1992.

The Vikings and Western were tied 1-1 after the first inning. Vikings pitcher Amariah Hoerner woke up the crowd with her fifth home run of the season for a 2-1 lead.

Hoerner, who struck out four and allowed seven hits, kept the Broncos down until Cassidy Luttrell hit a two-out RBI double in the sixth to tie the score. Peyton Young hit a two-out homer in the seventh for the lead. Young has 21 homers and 65 RBIs in 25 games and 88 at-bats.

“She feasts on fastballs, and I knew when she got the timing down the second or third time – I didn’t know she was going to hit a home run – I knew she was going to hit it hard somewhere,” said Western Brown coach Blaine Wallace, whose team won a fourth district title in his 23 years as coach. “So I felt good even before we started the seventh inning.”

Miamisburg played in its first district final since 2012 and was trying to win for the first time since 1994 and the school’s 11th overall. Only four seniors graduate, and Hoerner, a junior, and Alley Haas, a freshman, return as pitchers.

“I think what got us to this level was the way they play the game,” Kepple said. “I don’t see that changing next year.”