CHILLICOTHE – Despite showing valiant fight and effort throughout its playoff run, the Minford Lady Falcons fell to the Westfall Lady Mustangs, 5-2, in a Division III, Southeast II District Championship matchup at Unioto High School.
A pair of unearned runs and a stingy defense, coupled with a special performance by Westfall pitcher, Rebecca Brown, were too much for the Falcons to overcome. The loss ends the Lady Falcons season with a mark of 21-3.
However, Preston Messer was far from disappointed with his unit.
“You have those kind of games,” Minford head coach Preston Messer said. “Everything we hit was right at them. Everything they hit found a hole. It’s just like I told our team, you have games like that.”
The Lady Mustangs wasted little time putting pressure on the Lady Falcon defense. The second batter of the game, Darby Minor, laced a double into left field. After advancing on a bunt single, Samantha Tackett brought Minor in with her RBI base knock.
When Makayala Terry stepped to the plate with he bases loaded and two out, it looked like a routine ground ball would allow Minford to escape out of the first-inning jam with minimal damage. But the throw to first was too high, which allowed Tackett and Ayzia Fullen, who had also singled, to scamper on home as Westfall took a 3-0 lead.
In the second frame, Brown helped her own cause by driving a ball to the outfield, forcing a Minford error and allowing the ace pitcher to scamper to second base in the process. Minor then responded with her own RBI base knock to bring home Brown.
Meanwhile, Brown had found a rhythm in the circle. The Lady Mustangs’ pitcher, at one point, retired 10 in a row until Mary Pica singled in the top of the fourth inning. Two batters later, Zoe Doll brought Pica in, which cut the lead to a 4-1 margin.
Unfortunately, in the bottom half of the same frame, Westfall answered back as Brown crushed a ball over the right-center field fence to push the lead back to four runs.
Minford added a run in the seventh inning when Hannah Tolle plated Doll to cut the to 5-2. Tamara Burchett grounded out to second base and was called out to end the game on a very close play at first. Had Burchett had been called safe, the tying run would’ve come to the plate for Minford.
With the defeat, the Lady Falcons said farewell to three excellent senior hands in Mary Pica, Ariel Kingery, and Melanie Fuhrmann.
“I hate to our seniors go,” Messer said. “They’re the best bunch of seniors. They are great kids. Ariel and Mary are going on to play college ball, with Ariel going to Shawnee and Mary going to Rio to play softball. When you can send two out of three seniors to the next level, it says something about what the girls are doing inside the Minford softball program. Our additional senior, Melanie Fuhrmann, is going to get an education and wants to teach school. She’ll be a fine teacher,” Messer said. “I am proud of my seniors and proud of my team.”