Softball: Ropp pitches Kenton Ridge past Greenville in D-II regional semifinal

Cutline: Kenton Ridge High School junior Kylie Ropp throws a pitch during their Division II district final game against Clinton-Massie on Friday evening at Miami East High School. The Cougars won 5-3 to win their first district title since 2018. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

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Cutline: Kenton Ridge High School junior Kylie Ropp throws a pitch during their Division II district final game against Clinton-Massie on Friday evening at Miami East High School. The Cougars won 5-3 to win their first district title since 2018. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Cougars will play Jonathan Alder on Friday

MASON – Kenton Ridge held its sports awards ceremony Monday, which was a day too early for the softball team.

Junior Kylie Ropp had seven strikeouts with no walks in seven innings and drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly Tuesday as the Cougars edged Greenville 2-1 in a Division II regional semifinal at Mason Middle School.

“It’s nice to be playing after sports awards night,” said Kenton Ridge coach Sarah Schalnat, whose team reached the regional final for the first time since 2018.

Kenton Ridge (19-9) will take a five-game winning streak into a regional final at 5 p.m. Friday against Plain City Jonathan Alder, the No. 2 team in the Division II statewide coaches poll, in what will be an all-Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division final. Alder beat seventh-ranked Shawnee 5-3 in the second game Tuesday.

No. 3 Greenville (26-6) lost for the 11th consecutive time at the regional level.

“It’s like one of my players said, ‘Dreams go to Mason to die,’” Green Wave coach Jerrod Newland said. “The better team won. The better-coached team won. When you only give up two runs in a regional semifinal, you should win the game.”

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Center fielder Sydney Dobbins led off the fifth inning of a 1-1 game with single to left field and went to third on catcher Audrey Fyffe’s double to right, setting up Ropp’s go-ahead sacrifice fly to left. The left-handed pitcher and right-handed batter retired 10 of the last 11 batters she faced, allowing only leadoff batter Skylar Fletcher’s infield single with two outs in the fifth inning.

Ropp capped the performance with back-to-back strikeouts, sparking a team-wide hug on the field between the pitching circle and first base line.

“This is the first time I’ve pitched in a game this big,” Ropp said. “My curveball had movement that it hasn’t had in a while.”

The Cougars scored an unearned run in the top of the first when leadoff batter Kirsten Wright led off with a grounder that skipped through the legs of third baseman Ashlyn Zimmer for an error. Ropp drew a two-out walk and the runners advanced on two wild pitches for a 1-0 Kenton Ridge lead.

Green Wave freshman right-handed Zoey Burns ripped a line drive double between Kenton Ridge third baseman Bella Catanzaro and the bag to lead off the fourth. Zimmer flied out and Alaina Baughn lined out to shortstop Kyleigh Schnitzler before Kylar Arnett doubled up the right-center field gap to tie the score, 1-1.


Softball

Division II

Region semifinal

At Mason

Kenton Ridge 2, Greenville 1.

WP – Ropp (19-6). LP – Burns 15-4. Hitting leaders: KR – Catanzaro 2B, A. Fyffe 2B; G – Burns 2B, Arnett 2B. Records: KR 19-9, G 26-6.

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