CHILLICOTHE — Someone was bound to break through in the Division III, Region 11 softball semifinal between Southern Ohio Conference Division II opponents South Webster and West.
After a scoreless first five innings by both sides, it was the Lady Jeeps who plated three runs in the top of the sixth — ultimately fending off the Lady Senators 3-2 to advance to the Region 11 final for the third time in program history.
A two-out RBI single by sophomore Lauren Kaltenbach in the sixth put South Webster ahead 1-0 before two West errors allowed an additional two SW runs to score — making it 3-0 Lady Jeeps well into the game.
“The important thing was trying to get the ball in play, (Sydney) McDermott’s a tough pitcher and has been for years,” South Webster coach Andy Messer said. “Finally got the ball in play, unfortunate for them we’re able to score off their errors. We tried to play aggressively, it cost us earlier in the game. Finally was able to cash in in the sixth.”
“We had some key errors right there, big let down defensively. We just didn’t execute properly on those defensive plays,” West coach Dani Coleman said. “We hit the ball well I thought, sometimes just right at them. In some clutch situations we left runners on base.”
Junior Skylar Zimmerman scored the Lady Jeeps’ first run on Kaltenbach’s single after reaching with one out on a fielder’s choice — and advancing to third on a single by junior Bella Claxon.
It was Claxon and Kaltenbach who scored on West’s two errors.
West rallied for a pair of runs in their turn at the dish in the sixth — as juniors Emily Moore and Kaylor Pickelsimer connected on a pair of solo home runs with two outs.
“That was big, and that’s just them on any given day,” Coleman said. “Wish we had another runner on base at that time. Our quality of bats were really good, good contact rate. Kudos to them, they’re just as gritty of a team as we are. They executed defensively.”
SW freshman Jaiden White earned the win in the circle for the Lady Jeeps, allowing two runs on six hits, issuing one walk, and finishing with a pair of strikeouts.
“Jaiden was sharp, one of the sharpest games she’s thrown all year,” Messer said. “We threw some different pitches today that she’d been working on. She felt comfortable, and as it heats up she’s gotten better. We had a couple of ground ball double plays, to get two of those in a game is awesome. We rely on our defense and they played very well today.”
West senior Sydney McDermott allowed just one earned run on five hits and a walk, while striking out nine South Webster batters in the final start of her outstanding high school career.
McDermott and fellow senior Kylie Osborne helped the Lady Senators win back-to-back Division III district championships during their junior and senior seasons at West.
“Sydney’s rolled with us for three years, she’s set a legacy with us just with her heart and desire. Kylie’s been a great team player who has been a big part of our team for three years,” Coleman said. “West softball historically has been great, and this adds to that with back to back district championships. It was a great run for us and I’m really proud of them.”
South Webster went on to face Wheelersburg in the Division III, Region 11 Final at Unioto High School.
“First time in modern history, it’s a good thing for these girls,” Messer said. “Got cut short early last year facing Strasburg-Franklin. These girls want to keep going and keep battling.”
South Webster 000 003 0 — 3 5 2
West 000 002 0 — 2 6 2
W: Jaiden White (SW) 7IP, 6H, 2ER, 1BB, 2K; L: Sydney McDermott (PW) 7IP, 5H, 1ER, 1BB, 9K
South Webster hitting
Addi Claxon 1-3
Skylar Zimmerman 0-2, R
Bella Claxon 1-3, R
Lauren Kaltenbach 2-3, R, RBI
Laiken Lancaster 1-3
Portsmouth West hitting
Myla Mead 1-3
Emily Moore 2-3, R, RBI, HR
Kaylor Pickelsimer 1-3, R, RBI, HR
Maci Bradford 1-2, BB
Ava Potters 1-3
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