Prep softball: Monroe grabs share of third SWBL title in four years

It’s become another championship season for Monroe High School’s softball team.

Faith Hensley was 4-for-4 with a triple and four runs Thursday as the Hornets secured a share of their third Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division title in the last four years with a 9-4 victory over visiting Bellbrook.

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“It’s awesome that every year I’ve been part of a title,” said senior first baseman Mikayla Decker, noting Monroe’s Division II sectional crown in 2016. “I’m so blessed to be on this team and have all the teammates that I have. We always have each other’s back. It’s all about teamwork.”

Decker had two doubles, a single and three RBIs for the Hornets, who pushed their record to 13-2 overall and 10-1 in the SWBL. Brookville has completed league play with a 10-2 mark.

Monroe will try to grab the outright championship Friday when it hosts Oakwood for Senior Day. The Hornets started the season with a 12-1 beating at the hands of Brookville.

“We talked to the kids a little bit before the game and said, ‘After you got run-ruled by Brookville the first game of the year and just looked really bad, nobody would’ve believed you’d be in this spot. This is a testament to your character because a lot of people gave you up for dead,’ ” Monroe coach Tim Kellis said.

“I’m really proud of how they’ve responded all year. I thought we were a little tight tonight and it wasn’t pretty, but fortunately we got through it. Now it’s on to trying to get this thing outright and then on to the tournament.”

Sam Ross drove in a pair of runs for the Hornets. Sam Schwab, Shelby York, Erin Dyke and Makenzi Moore also had RBIs.

Monroe committed three errors and watched the Golden Eagles (5-10, 3-8) tag Alyssa Wagner for 10 hits. That’s the same Bellbrook squad that lost to Monroe 7-0 on April 25 and got hammered by Brookville 20-0 on Wednesday.

“We knew that they were going to be a run for our money if we didn’t come with our ‘A’ game,” Decker said. “We looked a little rough in warmups, but once we got going, I knew we would come around. We had to finish.”

Wagner, a sophomore right-hander, totaled 11 strikeouts and had no walks. She set a single-game school record with 18 strikeouts in Wednesday’s 4-2 triumph at Eaton, eclipsing Jordan Eastham’s 14 Ks.

Kaley Clark singled, doubled, homered and drove in two runs for Bellbrook, which threw lefty Randi Holder and righty Clark for three innings apiece. Izzy Clemens contributed a pair of singles.

“We came off a pretty hard loss yesterday, and our kids came out and did a very good job today,” Golden Eagles coach Angela Cook said. “They made some plays, our pitchers stepped up, and our hitters swung the bats. We fought all the way through it, so I’m very proud of them.

“We had a girl sick that wasn’t able to play and a girl that’s hurt, and they both stepped up with their leadership. That’s what it takes. Winning teams have good leadership. Monroe is very good, and I have nothing but respect for them. They’re a class act.”

Bellbrook will host Franklin for Senior Day on Friday. The Golden Eagles are seeded seventh in the D-II Dayton 1 sectional and will be at home against either No. 8 Carroll or No. 10 Stivers on May 10.

“I feel like if we can play our game, we can handle just about anybody. It’s just finishing,” Cook said. “We’re young, not just in age, but in the game. We’ve got some girls who play travel ball, but only a couple. So we’re learning.”

Monroe is the No. 2 seed in the Dayton 2 sectional and will host No. 16 Thurgood Marshall on Tuesday.

Bellbrook 101-100-1—4-10-3

Monroe 214-101-x—9-13-3

WP — Alyssa Wagner (13-1); LP — Randi Holder (4-7); HR — B: Kaley Clark. Records: B 5-10, 3-8 SWBL Southwestern; M 13-2, 10-1 SWBL Southwestern

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