High School softball: Pitching, defense key for Brookville

The Brookville softball team is off to a 9-1 start this season. Greg Billing/Contributed
The Brookville softball team is off to a 9-1 start this season. Greg Billing/Contributed

BROOKVILLE – Pressed into action with limited depth the four freshmen on Brookville High School’s softball team – in coach Robert Lenser’s words – “are in a trial by fire.”

For the other eight players on the Blue Devils’ roster – four seniors and four juniors – their baptism by fire came in the 2019 Division III regional semifinals.

Brookville trailed West Liberty-Salem 8-0 after one inning. The Blue Devils rallied before falling 12-9.

“Our kids were terrified when they made it to Wright State,” Lenser said. “There was a significant crowd there and there was pressure they had never felt. We’re trying to get that pressure on them early and often this year to be prepared to make a good run.

“I bet we bring it up three times a week talking about that game and the will to fight.”

Brookville felt some of that heat during its 9-0 start. They edged D-I Northmont 6-5 and used a pair of homers from junior Abby Edds to beat Eaton 11-9 in a key Southwestern Buckeye Conference victory.

Brookville’s undefeated start ended Tuesday with a 10-1 loss to Miamisburg (9-0).

It was a quality test for Brookville (9-1 overall, 6-0 SWBL), which returns to SWBL Southwestern Division action Friday against Valley View. The next three teams in the division – Franklin, Eaton and Valley View – all have two league losses.

Pitching and defense were expected to carry the Blue Devils, and they have. Seniors Kristin Gardner (4-0, 32 strikeouts in 27.1 innings) and senior Ashley Lenser (5-0, 40 Ks in 27.2) have shared pitching duties.

“It’s made life a little bit easier on our defense,” coach Lenser said. “We do rely on our pitchers and they both know their way through the SWBL. They’re having a good season so far.”

Prior to the loss against Miamisburg, Brookville had outscored opponents 95-19 with four shutouts.

Offensively, junior Kaitlyn Rediger (.563, 5 doubles, 15 RBI), Lenser (.536, 13 RBI), Edds (.400, 5 doubles, 4 HR, 13 RBI), Gardner (.379, 10 RBI, 8 stolen bases), senior Emma Burton (.375) and senior Bonnie Stevenson (.360) are pacing the offense.

“I think that’s where I’m most surprised this year. Offensively we’re hitting the ball and putting up quite a few runs,” coach Lenser said. “I thought we’d be okay defensively, but offensively we’re doing better than I thought.”

Lenser (Ohio Northern), Gardner (Ohio Christian) and Burton (Clark State) are committed to college programs.

* Chaminade Julienne is off to a 12-0 start with a young roster that includes nine underclassmen on the 13-player roster.

* Centerville – playing a key GWOC series with Miamisburg on Wednesday and Thursday – travels to the Wendy’s Spring Classic in Ashland this weekend to take on Canfield, Hillsdale and Keystone. On Tuesday, Keystone became the first Ohio high school program to win 1,000 games.

* Eaton sophomore Olivia Baumann hit two more home runs to help the Golden Eagles (8-3) sweep St. Henry last weekend. Baumann has seven overall, including a school-record three in one game in a 12-11 win against Franklin on March 29. She knocked in seven runs in that win.

* Bellbrook senior Randi Holder struck out 15 batters in a 2-1 loss to Franklin on Tuesday. She allowed three hits and two runs (one earned). She’s second in the SWBL with 43 strikeouts in 26 innings), one behind Eaton senior Erika Wilkenson’s 44 in 63.1 innings.

* Arcanum (7-4, 5-0 Cross County Conference) handed Bradford (9-1, 4-1) its first loss in 10 innings on Tuesday, capped by Peyton Garbig’s no-hitter.

The Trojans scored in the top of the 10th with two outs. Meghan McCans reached on an infield single. On a grounder to second McCans avoided the tag and the ensuing throw to first was low. McCans kept going and collided with the Railroaders’ third baseman. She was tagged out going home but officials ruled obstruction and awarded her home plate.

Garbig struck out 11 and walked three. Bradford’s Skipp Miller struck out 13, allowed three hits and walked two.

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