WHEELERSBURG — The cannon at Ed Miller Stadium seemingly made its’ way to Gene Bennett Park on Wednesday night.
Actually, it was the crack of the bat and the thunderous cheers that were prevalent in “Pirate Country” as the Wheelersburg Lady Pirates softball team relished in its’ final home game — sounding off on Fairfield 12-2 in a Division III district semifinal.
“We’re blessed with a lot of community support and I think you saw that tonight,” Wheelersburg softball coach Teresa Ruby said, afterwards. “Lot of people at the ball park to watch us and support us. Thought it was a great environment and proud of how our girls performed — I think both teams played pretty well.”
Wheelersburg did most of its’ damage with two outs on Wednesday, up until their 7-run sixth inning shut the door any chance of giving the Lady Lions another round at the plate in the seventh.
The Lady Pirates hit-around in the sixth, concluding the game with freshman pitcher AndiJo Howard’s walk off 3-run homer as the last of their 15 hits in the victory.
Howard was 3-of-4 at the plate with a game-best four RBI and was one of two Lady Pirates, along with senior lead-off hitter Boo Sturgill, to hit a home run.
Sturgill’s two-run blast made it 5-1 ‘Burg when it occurred in the fourth and came in between each of Fairfield’s two runs scored in top half of the fourth and fifth innings.
Each of Wheelersburg’s nine hitters reached via hit, including Howard, Sturgill, Macee Eaton, Haley Myers, and Brynley Preston who all had multi-hit outings.
Including their 17-0 win over Lynchburg-Clay in last Friday’s sectional final, the Lady Pirates are out-scoring their postseason opponents 29-2. Ruby said she was pleased with how her group settled-in in the late stages after a long-ish layoff between games to start their tournament run.
“Took us a few innings to get into a groove, even before the sixth we had some good shots but it was hit right to them or they made a nice play,” Ruby said. “Seemed like we settled in and started to see the ball better there late in the game.”
The No. 1-seed Lady Pirates (24-1) have made their way to yet another Division III district championship game this Saturday when they’ll meet No. 6-seed Wellston — champions of the TVC-Ohio conference during the regular season.
Ruby said she hopes to see her team continue their aggressiveness at the plate and their strong defensive performance in their push for the program’s first district championship since 2018.
“We want to continue to be aggressive and make sure we’re hitting pitches, not pitcher’s pitches. Today I was extremely pleased with our defense. If we continue to play solid defense and continue to hit, good things will happen for us.”
A win over Wellston would pit the Lady Pirates against district champions from the East District in the regional semis — Zoarville Tuscarawas Valley who defeated Belmont Union 14-10 on Wednesday.
First pitch for the district final between Wheelersburg and Wellston is set for 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 22, as of Thursday afternoon.
Fairfield: 0 0 0 1 1 0 — 2 4 4
Wheelersburg: 2 0 1 2 0 7 — 12 15 2
W: Howard (W), L: Chambliss (F)
Boo Sturgill 2-3, 2R, 2B, 2-run HR, 2RBI
Haley Myers 2-4, 3B, R
Rylie Hughes 1-3, BB, 2B, 2R
Macee Eaton 2-3, 2B, 3R, RBI
Sydney Skiver 1-3, RBI
AndiJo Howard 3-4, 3-run HR, 4RBI, R
Kiera Kennard 1-3, R
Brynley Preston 2-2, R, 2B
Rileigh Lang 1-3, RBI
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved