With their season down to one final turn at the plate, the Arcanum Trojans felt confident they could hit Northwestern pitcher Jenna Robbins given the chance.
But it never came in a Division III high school softball sectional final Monday at Northmont High School. Top-seeded Northwestern, leading 5-2 entering the bottom of the sixth, ripped off seven runs – the big blow a three-run homer from Maddie Current – to run-rule No. 4 Arcanum 12-2.
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Robbins (14-0) allowed four hits, struck out three and walked one. The Trojans scored twice in the second inning on a solo homer by senior Cassidy Clark and a run-scoring error.
The Trojans (21-5) managed a base runner in the third and sixth inning as Robbins, a junior, settled in with a dominating change-up, rise ball and fastball that’s been clocked at 61 mph.
“We just needed to pull through. Once they got that home run we got a little nervous,” Robbins said. “I think we realized we needed to get our head back in the game.”
They got their bats in it, too. Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the third, Northwestern (22-7) put its first three batters on base with a pair of singles by junior Jamie Rutherford and sophomore Bry White and a fielder’s choice by junior Macie Crew. Robbins then launched a three-run homer to left for the 4-2 lead. It was her 11th home run of the season.
“I think her hitting helped her to relax a little bit on the mound,” Northwestern coach Missy Johnson said. “I think she was a little aggravated at first. She was pressing a little too much. She relaxed and it definitely paid off.”
Northwestern led 5-2 in the fifth on sophomore Miranda Gillman’s RBI single.
“I think once we got the lead we continued to try and do the basics and make solid contact,” Johnson said. “Everyone contributed, all 11 girls did today, and it paid off.”
Current went 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBI. Robbins was 3-for-3 with a double, homer and five RBI. White had two hits, including a first-inning home run. Rutherford and senior Rachel Martin each had two hits and Abby Zerkle added an RBI.
“Our offense has been doing fantastic,” Robbins said. “In practice we’ve been working on our defense to boost it a little bit. We’ve been doing great. I’m proud of our defense.”
Northwestern has outscored its three tournament opponents 50-2 to reach its fifth straight district final. The Warriors are 4-1 in those games with four straight wins. Up next is No. 2 Middletown Madison (22-7), a 3-1 winner against Carlisle. The final is 5 p.m. Friday at Eaton High School.
Arcanum junior Elle Siculan and freshman Macy Skelton combined to allow 15 hits with four walks and one strikeout against a Warriors’ team hitting .390 overall. The Warriors left six runners on base.
Offensively, senior McKenzie Sharritts went 2-for-3 to and Robinson’s homered to pace the Trojans.
“She’s a good pitcher. Just a little bit of her, a little bit of us pressing a little bit,” Arcanum coach Rick Stone said. “We had our opportunities. We were right there with them until the sixth. … We were hitting her, we were just popping it up. Hats off to her. I hope Northwestern wins the whole daggone thing.”
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