Standing down the third base line in shallow left field, Piqua High School softball coach Rick Claprood was downplaying the Indians’ 8-1 defeat of Greater Western Ohio Conference visiting power Greenville Tuesday night.
However, standing even with the bag, winning pitcher Kyla Blankenship was having a hard time holding it in.
“I’m speechless right now,” Blankenship said after striking out six. “It is great to be a senior right now. This is just awesome. This is a great experience and we have a great team this year.”
The win keeps the Indians unbeaten in the GWOC North at 5-0 and 10-1 overall. Greenville, which has never failed to win the North Division since joining the GWOC, falls to 3-2 in the division and 9-3 overall.
“Disappointment is the word. The tougher team won,” Greenville coach Jerrod Newland said. “We knew we had to line up and take care of business and we didn’t. Now, our backs are against the wall and we are fighting for our life and every game is a must win.”
Greenville was able to break through first on a double by Cassie Cromwell and a single by Ashton Kester that rolled past the Indians’ left fielder. However, the top of the fourth would be as good as it got against Blankenship for the Wave.
In addition to striking out six times, Greenville flew out 12 times on a day when the wind was blowing straight in from center.
“We were not making much of anything happen,” Newland said. “When 18 of your outs are strikeouts or pop outs, that happens. When you play a good team, they are going to make those plays. I’m just disappointed.”
Piqua, which struggled against Greenville starter Allison Minnich for the first three innings, came alive in the bottom of the fourth, scoring six runs on seven hits to take a 6-1 lead. Piqua began the inning with five straight singles before pulling off a suicide squeeze.
“It was very important for us to answer,” Blankenship said. “We shut the door on them. We showed we weren’t getting down because we were one run down. We knew what we had to do and did it.”
Piqua travels to Greenville for today’s rematch.
“We are paying attention to one game at a time and I am not going to get too excited until the season is over,” Claprood said. “Greenville is a great ballclub and have won everything forever. The game comes down to if you can hit it, catch it, throw it and pitch it and when you hit it it gets easier and we hit it.”
Northmont 13, Beavercreek 0: Senior pitcher Mallory Woods (6-1) tossed a three-hitter and also homered and collected four RBI’s to lead the visiting Thunderbolts (11-2). Cory Mangen had a couple of doubles and four RBI’s and Whitney Fiedler also had two doubles and three RBI’s.
Vandalia-Butler 2, Troy 0: Freshman pitcher Braedon Norman (4-0) struck out 12 and tossed a one-hitter as the host and unbeaten Aviators made a couple of first-inning runs stand for a key GWOC North win. Chandler Craine had a double and both RBI’s for Butler and Tyler Burley also doubled.
Wayne 3, Springfield 1: Warriors senior pitcher James Harness (3-1) struck out 16 to beat the visiting Wildcats. Both teams are 5-7 overall.