CHILLICOTHE — Just as the Zane Trace Pioneers had rallied behind a game-tying three-run home run in the top of the fifth, the South Webster Lady Jeeps made a response of their own in Wednesday’s Division III district semifinal.
Following the game-evening blast by Kinley May, the Lady Jeeps proceeded to send 12 batters to the plate in their eight-run fifth before adding two more in the sixth — earning a 13-3 win over the Pioneers to advance to their third-straight district final.
It’s their first district final appearance in that streak as a D-III program — as the prior two were in Division IV.
South Webster began their eight-run fifth with five-consecutive singles by Ashlee Spence, Bella Claxon, Lauren Kaltenbach, Jaiden White, and Ava Messer.
As a team, the Lady Jeeps collected fifteen hits and capitalized on seven Zane Trace errors.
“I think the girls were challenged,” SW coach Andy Messer said, following the game. “They (Zane Trace) came back and tied it up at three, asked for the girls to rise up and see what they were made of — and the girls did that. They hit the ball really well, drove it and stayed on a plane — those are things we work on in practice. Connected well and they were seeing the ball well that inning.”
Messer and White each had a team-high three hits apiece, while Skylar Zimmerman and Spence both reached twice via hit. White and Zimmerman each had two RBI, while Messer scored a team-high three runs in the victory.
Outside the Zane Trace fifth when they tied the game — even briefly — White and the South Webster defense allowed just one hit to ZT batters in the remaining five frames.
White earned the win in the circle, allowing just five hits and three earned runs while striking out three.
“Jaiden threw well in the circle. During that inning (fifth), she was working behind some batters. Defensively, we have some girls giving it their all,” Messer said, of his team’s pitching and defense. “Addi Claxon laying out in right field, Mak(ayla Raynard) and Bre Potters helped play a really good outfield. Proud of our defense and their efforts, that’s what we’ve seen all year long.”
The No 4-seed Lady Jeeps will play in the final D-III district final at Unioto High School on Saturday as the program seeks it’s second-straight district crown.
In that contest, they’ll face the No. 3-seed Adena Warriors, who defeated No. 10-seed Belpre 7-1 in Wednesday’s first district semifinal.
“Adena’s a good team. We know they like to play a lot of small ball, so we’re going to continue working on that through the next couple of days,” Messer said. “I hope we’ll be ready for them and hope we can grab another district title.”
First pitch between South Webster and Adena will take place roughly 30 minutes following the conclusion of the second district final between Portsmouth West and Ironton on Saturday.
Zane Trace 000 030 — 3 5 7
South Webster 120 082 — 13 15 1
W: Jaiden White (SW) 6IP, 5H, 3ER, 2BB, 3K; L: B. Wipert (ZT) 12H, 2ER, 1BB, 1K
South Webster hitting
Addi Claxon 1-4, R, RBI
Skylar Zimmerman 2-3, R, 2RBI, BB
Ashlee Spence 2-4, R
Bella Claxon 1-4, R, RBI
Lauren Kaltenbach 1-4
Jaiden White 3-4, 3R, 2RBI
Ava Messer 3-4, 3R, RBI
Makayla Raynard 1-4, R
Laiken Lancaster 1-4, R, 2RBI
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved