Tri-Village girls advance to District Championship game

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Tri-Village softball team went undefeated in WOAC to claim a league championship.  They defeated Tri-County North 4-2 in District-Semi Finals to advance to District Championship. (Dale Barger photo)

NEW MADISON – Tri-Village on the strength of a four-run 5th inning overcame a 2-0 deficit to Tri-County North and then held on for a 4-2 win over the Lady Panthers to advance to the  District Championship game.

It was a rematch between two WOAC teams who played midway through the season, both undefeated in the league at the time.  In that game it was Tri-Village who struck first 3-0 grabbing the momentum and then going on to win the game.

It would be Tri-County North striking first in the district semi-final game.

Hannah Webster doubled to right field to start the top of the 2nd inning. Bella Cherry followed with a double to left field that scored Webster.  North added one more run in the inning when Chloe Jackson singled in Cherry for the 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 2nd inning.

“When we struck first tonight I really thought it was going to be our night and we had the momentum to start,” Tri-County North coach Shelly Lykins stated.

The Patriots put runners on base and in scoring position in the 1st and 2nd innings by drawing walks … but North pitcher Kasidi Daugherty was able to get out of both innings striking out four hitters along the way.

North’s pitcher Kasidi Daughtery pitched terrific giving up just 3 hits but the team came up short 4-2 in their district semi-final game with Tri-Village. (Dale Barger photo)

Daugherty turned in a strong pitching performance for the Panthers going the distance striking out 12 and giving up just 3 hits.

To start the 3rd inning Tri-Village made a pitching change bringing in freshman Emma Greer for Poling and it would turn out to be a pivotal move in the game.

Greer sat down Tri-County North in order over the next three innings to keep the Patriots in the game.

Daugherty who was holding on to a one hitter, on a double by Mylie Byerly in the 4th inning but was able to get out of the inning. But in the bottom of the 5th inning the Patriots offense woke up adding two more doubles.

Daugherty walked the first two hitters, Emma Cantrell and Tai Mize bringing up Emma Greer who has been swinging a hot bat.

Greer roped a line drive to center field at the fence for a double scoring both Cantrell and Mize and the Patriots tied the game at 2-2.

Freshman Emma Greer rips a big double to jump start the Patriots late game rally.  (Dale Barger photo)

The two-bagger for Greer was just another added to her already school record for doubles in a season now standing at 18.

Senior 1st baseman Kiersten Wilcox drew her 3rd walk of the game.  Then on a wild pitch to the next hitter, Greer advanced to 3rd base and the PATS brought in freshman courtesy runner and sister to Kiersten, Kenna Wilcox.

Senior leader Kiersten Wilcox has been an emotional leader besides her play on the field trying to fire up her team. (Dale Barger photo)

Camryn Osborne hit the 3rd double of the game for Tri-Village that scored Greer and advanced Wilcox to 3rdbase.  Kenna then scored on a passed ball and Osborne advanced to 3rd base with no outs.

But North’s Daugherty was able to collect herself getting two straight pop-ups and a strikeout to get out of the inning … but the Patriots now led 4-2 to change the momentum heading into the top of the 6th inning.

Looking to get things started Jr. Gracie Hemp would pick a great time to get her 100th career hit and would receive recognition for a brief moment after reaching base.

Junior Gracie Hemp got her 100th career hit as she tries to rally her team in the 6th inning. (Dale Barger photo)

After playing resumed Hemp went to second on a sacrifice bunt fielded by Greer who got the out at 1st base.

Kora Lykins then grounded to 3rd baseman Aereonna Baker who threw to 1st after looking back Hemp at 2nd base … but the throw was short and a good play by Kiersten Wilcox to dig the ball up registered the 2nd out.

Greer then coaxed a pop-up that she took care of herself to get out of the 6th inning.

Daugherty took care of TV at the bottom of the inning with a pop-up and two strikeouts heading to the top of the 7th inning and one last opportunity for the Panthers to respond.

After a fly-out to start, Sadie Royer collected the 2nd hit off Greer to centerfield giving the Panthers some hope.  But leftfielder Emily Cantrell hauled in a flyball for the 2nd out.

Emma Greer then took matters into her own hands with a strikeout to close out the game giving the Patriots a thrilling come from behind win.

After the game North coach Lykins felt said she felt good after the quick start, but the pitching change might have been the difference in the game.

“We were prepared the 2nd time around for Poling and once we get comfortable facing a pitcher we get really comfortable, and I think that’s how they were with Poling.  Then they brought in the freshman pitcher, even though she may not be quite as strong a pitcher, we were already like, oh, we don’t know this girl,” Lykins explained.

“Yeah, when they got on the board first so early in the game that was a little worrisome, Tri-Village coach Emily Osborne stated.

It turns out Tri-Village coach Emily Osborne had an ace up her sleeve.

Emma Greer would end up being an “Ace in the Hole” for Tri-Village coach Emily Osborne taking over on the mound and holding North scoreless on just two hits in the last 4 innings to pick up the win. (Dale Barger photo)

So, we have Emma Greer who is a freshman that started out the season playing a bit tentative coming off of a knee injury but as the season has gone along she has gained so much confidence.  Her hitting was slow to start but when she gets going she’s a beast and that confidence follows her to the mound as well,” Osborne praised

“She (Greer) was the ace in our back pocket, and I told both of the girls (Poling & Greer) after the 2nd inning that this is nothing personal, both of you are great pitchers, but they have our number and knew what to expect, which is what prompted the pitching change,” Osborne added.

Greer would perform well enough to keep North off the board and eventually get the win on the mound … but the biggest spark may actually have come from her bat in the 5th inning when driving in the first two runs to put some fire and life into the Patriots team.

“I mean, she’s been hitting the ball hard again, getting that momentum back, has had a couple home runs and actually broke the school record for doubles this year and when she gets in beast mode, she is just one heck of a player,” Osborne complimented.

Coach Osborne was a little frustrated with the team’s hitting but had confidence that the team would find a way to come back.

“It was a little frustrating especially for a team that has been hitting so well since we played North the first time around that started the momentum of our team hitting so well and putting big numbers on the board and to not have that tonight, we had to have belief in each other and that’s how we got through it,” Osborne added.

Tri-County North season ends in the district semi-finals, but they would finish 4th in the WOAC and as Sectional Champions.  Coach Lykins hated to say goodbye to her seniors and recognizes they will be tough to replace.

“It’s hard for me to talk about them, they’re like my daughter’s best friends and really special to me and this team. They missed their senior awards banquet tonight to play in this game.  Hannah Webster and Sadie Royer got some scholarships and are really good kids. Hannah has been strong at third base since she was a freshman and Sadie helped lead our outfield, it’s going to be tough losing them for sure,” Lykins exclaimed.

North completes a fine season of softball winning a sectional title and finishing 4th in the WOAC.  They will be a force again next year as well. (Dale Barger photo)

“I’m really proud of this team, I mean, we didn’t play as well in non-league games this season, but we were focused on the WOAC ,while beefing up our schedule.  We have a lot of talent returning and expect to compete again next year,” Lykins concluded.

For Tri-Village the magical season continues as they will prepare to play Southeastern who is the #9 ranked team in the state in DIV coming in with a record of 21-1.

Tri-Village coach Osborne says the teams slogan this year was “setting goals and breaking records while trying to win every inning one at a time.

”So far they’ve broke a few records, one being the most wins in a season at 22-1 on the year as they go for a District Championship on Friday at 5pm at Newton taking on Southeastern who run ruled Cedarville 10-0.

Coach Emily Osborne talks to her team after winning a big game over North to advance to the District Championship game on Friday. (Dale Barger photo)