High School Softball: Ouhl’s 2-run homer helps lift Lebanon to regional final

MASON – Lebanon pitcher Aubrey Smith stood in the dugout in the fifth inning Wednesday expecting to return to the mound with the task of keeping Miamisburg’s lead at one run.

She had just struck out looking for the second out. Then Kendal Allen walked. Next up was Teagan Ouhl. She brought Smith’s emotions to the surface with a two-run homer off Miamisburg starter Ryla Zehring for a one-run lead.

“I cried – tears came out of my eyes,” Smith said. “That was awesome. I was so excited for her, especially with two outs. I was super nervous.”

Smith, armed with the lead, retired six of the final seven batters she faced and Lebanon had a 4-3 victory in the first Division I semifinal at Mason High School. The Warriors (28-3) play the winner of the second game between Farirfield (19-5) and Milford (22-4) in Friday’s 5 p.m. region final at Mason.

“She just hung a pitch and give credit to the hitter – she did with that ball what she needed to do,” Miamisburg coach Steve Beachler said. “That’s just how fast the momentum can change in softball. Momentum was on our side and all sudden, boom, something like that happens.”

The Vikings (22-4) tied the score 2-2 in the second on Zehring’s two-run homer. They took a 3-2 lead in the fourth on Izzy Kepple’s RBI single. The defense came through in the fourth when Lebanon loaded the bases and second baseman Jenna Miller caught a hard line drive, that first popped out of her glove, and stepped on second for an inning-ending double play.

“We hit into some bad luck and we left a lot of runners stranded,” Lebanon coach Brian Kindell said. “But when you’re getting in the batter’s box and taking great disciplined at-bats and hitting balls hard, sooner or later, you’re going to put runs on the board. And we did.”

The home run was Ouhl’s second of the season and gave the Warriors a chance to return to the state tournament in Akron next week for the first time since 2017.

“I knew I had to get something done,” she said. “The first pitch I saw I knew it was there. I hit it and I knew it was over. So it was pretty big.”

Miamisburg was coming off its first district title since 1994 and beat Lebanon 3-2 early in the season, but the Vikings faced a different pitcher in Sophia Rohrs, who throws a little harder than Smith. The big difference was Smith’s ability to throw her changeup for strikes.

“I think it helped a lot not knowing what I throw,” Smith said “I used that to my advantage that they hadn’t seen my changeup before.”

Beachler’s team has hit all season but was held to four hits.

“She kept us off balance,” he said. “We knew that they were probably going to throw her, and we knew what she threw. We tried to prepare for that, but she’s just a phenomenal pitcher.”

About the Author