Cin. Christian rolls past New Miami in D-IV sectional softball

A two-run deficit in the second inning wasn’t enough to unnerve the Cincinnati Christian School softball team.

The host Cougars bounced back in the bottom half to take a lead and had an answer for every run New Miami produced, rolling to a 7-4 win Thursday in a Division IV sectional semifinal.

The game was a matchup of Miami Valley Conference champions. CCS (13-4) won the Scarlet Division, while the Vikings (11-9) ruled the Gray Division.

“We didn’t get rattled by the two runs,” Cougars coach Stephanie Grossmann said. “One of our strongest points this year has been our offense. Pretty much the whole lineup contributes to hitting, so there’s not a spot where we are holding our breath, and I knew eventually our bats were going to wake up and we would find those holes and produce runs.

“I give the girls credit because they didn’t hang their heads and say, ‘We’re down two runs.’ Instead, they came back at it like we’ve done all season and just kept plugging away.”

The Vikings took the 2-0 lead on Sam Jones’ two-out, two-run single in the top of the second, but Kayla Stacy got things going for the Cougars with an RBI single to left to drive in Anna Lapham. Then, with two outs, Kristen McLaughlin looped a high fly ball into an infield gap to bring in two more runs for the lead.

New Miami tied it back up in the third on Reva Johnson’s ground out to bring in Arielle Scalf, and once again CCS responded, this time scoring on a wild pitch and another Stacy RBI hit. The Cougars made it 6-3 in the fourth on a Merrick Heid ground out, and even when the Vikings scored in the sixth, CCS got it back in the bottom of the inning.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game and we had to be prepared and on our ‘A’ game because anything could happen and it would be close, but we did what we needed to win today and we’re excited (to move on),” Grossmann said.

Stacy led the Cougars’ offense, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored, while Abby Baker, Lapham and Grace Watson each added a pair of hits. Jenna Monk earned the win from the pitching circle, surrendering just three hits with three walks and two hit batters.

It was a much different result than a few weeks ago when CCS won a 22-14 slugfest, but more like both teams expected, considering they each won their division of the MVC. New Miami’s three hits Thursday came from Helton, Jones and Breanna Bowman.

“We’ve had some ups and downs, but they battle,” New Miami coach Misty Sapp said. “We won the league in our half and they their half, so I’ll take a 7-4 loss to the winner of the upper bracket. I can’t complain about that. My girls played well today, and that’s all I ask. It was a great game. We had a few errors, but they battled to the end and that’s what matters.”

Third-seeded CCS plays No. 7 Fayetteville in a sectional final Tuesday at Indian Hill. The Vikings, who will host North College Hill in a regular-season game Friday, were seeded fourth.

New Miami 021-001-0—4-3-2

Cincinnati Christian 032-101-x—7-13-1

WP — Jenna Monk (9-2); LP — Allison Rapier (11-9). Records: N 11-9, C 13-4

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