By CODY LEIST
PDT Sports Writer
CHILLICOTHE — It just takes one inning for things to unravel.
That’s the best way to describe No. 7 Minford’s Division III Southeast District Semifinal softball game at Unioto High School against No. 3 Zane Trace. Two Lady Falcon errors in the top of the sixth allowed the Lady Pioneers’ lead to grow from 2-1 to 8-1 before the final tally of 8-2 flashed on the board.
“It seemed like after (Kelsey Conkey was injured in the sixth), the wheels fell off,” Minford coach Preston Messer said. “We’ve got six first-year starters on this team.”
The Lady Falcons led 1-0 after two innings of play when Nikki Jacko scored on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Haley Johnson. Minford had a chance to put more pressure on Zane Trace freshman pitcher Morgan Geno in the frame but Mariah Colley and Elizabeth Brisker struck out to end the inning.
Geno made the Lady Falcons pay in the next half inning when she hit a two-run home run off Conkey. It was the 11th of the season for Geno.
The sixth started with Joann Saultz reaching on a Brisker error. She and three other teammates would score before the first out was recorded in the six-run inning.
“Young kids in pressure situations, sometimes they can’t handle it,” Messer said.
Johnson knocked in Abby Fuhrmann in the bottom of the seventh to end the scoring. The Lady Pioneers will play top-seeded Valley in Saturday’s final.
The Lady Indians defeated No. 4 Fairland 5-2 earlier in the day. Minford loses Jacko, Olivia Pica and Jacyln Thornsberry to graduation.
“I hate to see the seniors go but best of luck to them,” Messer said.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zane Trace 0 0 2 0 0 6 0 — 8 6 2
Minford 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 — 2 4 3
Zane Trace — Geno 2-3 (HR, BB, 2 RBI, R), Frye 1-3 (SAC), Saultz 1-3 (BB, RBI, R), Roberts 1-4 (2B, RBI), Davis 1-4, Dunkle 0-4 (R), Partee 0-3 (BB, R), Jarvis 0-3 (SAC, RBI, R), Thompson 0-1 (BB, SAC, R), Brooks 0-0 (R), Watson 0-0 (R).
Minford — Brisker 1-3, Jacko 1-3 (R), Lowery 0-3 (SB), Fuhrmann 203 (SB, R), Johnson 0-2 (BB, 2 RBI).
W — Geno (21-3)
L — Conkey (13-11)
Records — Zane Trace 24-3; Minford 13-11.