HANOVERTON OH- The phrase “that was worth the price of admission” is one used quite often when describing an exciting event. Those who attended or viewed from home, Thursday night’s sectional final between United and Crestview could wholeheartedly make that claim. The 11th seeded Eagles pulled off the upset of the 4th seeded Rebels 4-3 in what could only be described as an instant classic.
“We talked about making games like this the standard, not the exception for United softball moving forward” coach Matt Zines following the victory. The game previewed to be a very good low scoring affair between two of the areas best in the circle, United’s Tori Firth and Crestview’s Kaedyn Sutton. It started that way as both pitchers threw up zeros through the first 2 innings.
United would strike in the top of the 3rd, Joshlyn Irey would get aboard via an infield single, Colby Burton would follow with an RBI single and the Eagles led 1-0. That’s where the score would remain heading into the 6th inning as the two pitchers settled in surrendering only 1 hit each.
The top of the 6th is where the game started to heat up offensively. Following a Maddy Lucas single, Mati Zines laid down a great bunt, the throw was offline, Lucas aggressively headed to third only to be picked off by a Brenna Figley throw. Taylor Cope, with Zines at first base, would single followed by a Brielle Rose RBI single extending the lead to 2-0.
Crestview responded in the bottom half of the 6th with their own offense. Karsyn Moore singled and Brooke Brubaker walked, giving the Rebels their best chance to that point in the game. Both runners would advance on a passed ball, Katie Lissi would follow with an RBI single cutting the United lead to 2-1. 7th inning heroics are what dreams are made of and it did not disappoint.
United’s Joshlyn Irey was a constant thorn in the side of Sutton (7IP, 9H, 4K) as she reached base with her 3rd infield single of the game. Tori Firth, with Irey aboard and one out, took a Sutton pitch deep to center field onto the track giving United a 4-1 lead. Firth (7IP, 8H, 6K) took the 3 run lead with her to the circle to face the top of the Rebel lineup in the bottom of the 7th.
Breanna Figley and Mckenna Schultz put together back to back singles with one out to start the Rebel rally. Kaedyn Sutton would take a Tori Firth offering deep to right center off the fence scoring two, cutting the Eagles lead to 4-3. Now the momentum was clearly in the Rebels favor with one out and Sutton at second base, it appeared victory was in the grasp of the Rebels. Karsyn Moore stepped in and laced a ball to center, United’s Maddy Lucas would come through with an absolutely incredible catch to the surprise of Sutton who would be doubled off at second ending the game.
Coach Matt Zines on the incredible play by Lucas ” When I first saw the ball come off the bat what I said to myself should not be printed. It was a hard hit ball cutting away and for her to make a play like that on a full sprint below her waist fully stretched was incredible. She experienced a baserunning error earlier in the game and to be able to come through for her teammates with the game on the line is something so special, I was very very happy for her at that moment.”
United, the 11th seed, now moves on to face 18th seeded Gilmour Academy in the District Semifinals. First pitch is slated for 5:30 at South Range High School.
*Contributed By YSN’s Chris Sigler