Seventh-inning rally lifts Springboro to upset of Lakota East

Springboro High School softball coach Randy Callahan is beginning to like tournament visits to West Carrollton.

In 2013, Callahan’s crew upset state-ranked Lakota West 2-1 in the sectional finals. Monday night, the Panthers took out state-ranked Lakota East.

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»RELATED: State softball coaches poll

Springboro scored five runs in the top of the seventh to beat the state’s sixth-ranked team 8-6 in the Division I Dayton 1 sectional final.

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“This is déjà vu for me,” Callahan said after his squad improved to 19-9. “Five years to the day we pulled that upset.”

Springboro advances to face Harrison, a 14-3 run-rule winner over Mount Notre Dame, for a district championship Friday at 5 p.m. at East.

The Panthers entered their final at-bat facing a 6-3 deficit against East ace Sydney Larson.

Lakota East’s Brianna Castner is out at third base after the tag by Springboro’s Sophie Weber during Monday’s Division I sectional final at West Carrollton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOHN CUMMINGS

“We were all up and ready to go,” Springboro sophomore Tyanna Seibert said. “Each person just went up there thinking about getting a base hit.”

Sarah Metcalfe opened the seventh with a single before Sophie Weber and Gabby Hougans recorded one-out singles to load the bases. Hali Geraci got the Panthers to within 6-5 with a single before Rachel Oxley tied it with the fourth straight Panther hit.

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Seibert gave Springboro the lead when her single scored Oxley before coming around to score on a single by Gracie Wyatt for the final run.

The seventh inning was the end of a roller-coaster ride for Seibert, who started the game in the circle for the Panthers and was on the hook for the loss until the seventh-inning rally.

“It was a kind of redemption,” Seibert said. “I was so happy we were able to come back.”

Lakota East catcher Sydney Walsh puts the tag on Springboro’s Sophie Weber in the seventh inning of a Division I sectional final at West Carrollton. Weber was called safe on the play. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOHN CUMMINGS

Molly Pfiffner worked a scoreless seventh.

“There is not much we can do about it now,” East coach Steve Castner said after his squad finished 24-5. “I think we came in feeling like we were playing good ball, but each and every day something can change, and today we didn’t play as well as we could’ve.”

Springboro jumped to a quick 2-0 lead with runs in the first and third innings before East tied it in the fourth on an error on a ball hit by Brianna Castner.

Northwestern University signee Rachel Lewis led off the bottom of the fifth with a towering home run to kick-start a four-run inning for East. Corinne Haverland drove in the final two runs to make it 6-2.

“I think we were able to take advantage of some mistakes,” Castner said. “We never really timed her (Seibert) up, but they took advantage of our mistakes as well.”

Seibert’s sacrifice bunt to score Geraci — who reached on an error — in the sixth that cut the lead to 6-3 was key, Callahan said.

“I think that run set the tone,” he said. “It said we weren’t done yet. Maybe we give up a little if we don’t get that run. We weren’t getting a lot of those little bleeders to fall for us early in the season, but we are finally getting them.”

Springboro 101-001-5—8-10-5

Lakota East 000-240-0—6-5-3

WP — Molly Pfiffner (8-3); LP — Sydney Larson (13-4); HR — L: Rachel Lewis. Records: S 19-9, L 24-5

Springboro players celebrate their 8-6 victory over Lakota East in Division I sectional final Monday at West Carrollton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOHN CUMMINGS

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