Springboro senior pitcher Molly Pfiffner delivers during a 10-1 second-round defeat of visiting Springfield on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Springboro ends Lebanon’s streak of GWOC divisional softball titles

“I’ve coached at higher levels and this team runs through brick walls for us,” said Hartman, a Franklin High School graduate who previously was the head softball coach at Malone University. “We have believed in this all season. We really have instilled in them they are that good.”

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Springboro (18-6) is one of only six Greater Western Ohio Conference teams to remain on a soggy high school tournament trail. The Panthers will take a five-game win streak into a Division I district semifinal against GWOC National West rival Miamisburg (16-10) at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Fairmont in a matchup that was postponed from Monday.

Springboro swept Miamisburg in the regular season by a total of four runs.

The Divisions I and III district championships are scheduled throughout the area at neutral sites on Friday and Divisions II and IV on Saturday. Those winners advance to next week’s regional semifinals.

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There’s a lot to celebrate for Springboro softball and it begins by breaking Lebanon’s seven-season grip on GWOC divisional titles. That went down to a late-season doubleheader at Lebanon and Springboro entering with a one-game advantage. Lebanon won the opener, 11-5. Springboro answered with a clutch 7-6 win in the second game.

Springboro junior second baseman Gabby Hougan (left) tosses to senior first baseman Sarah Metcalfe for the final out in a 10-1 second-round defeat of visiting Springfield on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Springboro often placed runner-up to Lebanon in the GWOC as the Warriors cemented their place among the state’s best D-I programs. Lebanon advanced to three state final fours since 2012 and placed second each time. Lebanon was a roadblock Springboro couldn’t pass, until this season.

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“Most of our players have played with those Lebanon kids since they were little,” Hartmand said. “It was so emotional and such a roller coaster. Our kids have been exceptional this season. They love this game and they love being coached.”

Springboro senior ace Molly Pfiffner leads the GWOC in wins (17) and strikeouts (170). Her 12 strikeouts in a 10-1 second-round sectional defeat of visiting Springfield last week surpassed former Panthers pitcher Lauren Powell (now playing for Tennessee State) for most in a season.

Pfiffner followed that with an 8-0 GWOC crossover shutout of Beavercreek to clinch the divisional title in a makeup game that concluded the regular season. Springboro finished 10-1 in the National West and Lebanon 9-2.

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Springboro senior Sophie Weber is tied for second in the GWOC with six home runs and leads the Panthers in hitting (.564), hits (44), doubles (11) and RBIs (35).

All of Monday’s D-I district semifinals were postponed to Tuesday, including Lebanon (16-7) vs. Troy (14-15) at Springboro.

Springboro senior pitcher Molly Pfiffner delivers and sophomore third baseman Celia Blankenship gets set during a 10-1 second-round defeat of visiting Springfield on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

• The boys district tennis moves to the Lindner Family ATP Tennis Center at Mason. The D-I and D-II play begins on Thursday. The top four placers in singles and doubles advance to next week’s season-ending state tournament, also at the Lindner Center.

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• The first of three boys and girls postseason track and field meets are this week. The D-I meets are at Bellbrook and Piqua on Wednesday and Friday. The D-II sectionals are at Graham and Piqua on Thursday and Saturday. The D-III meets are Tuesday and Saturday at Milton-Union and Piqua.

The top four placers in all events qualify to next week’s regional meets at Wayne (D-I), Piqua (D-II) and Troy (D-III).

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• The D-III and D-IV baseball sectionals were to have begun on Monday, although many first-round games were rescheduled because of unplayable field conditions. The Divisions I and II baseball sectionals are scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

Springboro senior pitcher Molly Pfiffner delivers during a 10-1 second-round defeat of visiting Springfield on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Like softball, the higher baseball seeds host games through the second round, then play shifts to neutral sites.

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• The boys and girls Divisions I and II lacrosse postseasons begin this week. Most area teams are scheduled to play Monday or Tuesday.

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