For five innings, Olentangy High School softball pitcher Sophie Low largely kept Teays Valley hitters off balance during a Division I regional final May 26 at Ohio State.
Low retired seven consecutive batters from the third to fifth innings to maintain a slim lead, but even a change in strategy could not keep the Vikings from their third regional championship in four years.
Hailey Struckman hit a home run to center field to start a sixth-inning onslaught by Teays Valley that featured another homer, six runs, six hits — more than half of its 11 for the game — and a Braves error en route to a 9-5 win.
Struckman’s blast got the Vikings within 5-4, and Cassie Feyh’s towering home run to the left of straightaway center field two batters later gave Teays Valley the lead for good.
Feyh sat on a 1-and-1 fastball and hit it about 230 feet.
“We were getting by for a few innings, but they hit a couple balls on us. That’s all there is to it,” Olentangy coach Alan Tharp said. “They were starting to sit on the outside pitch because they knew that’s where we’d been getting ahead (in the count). Then we started throwing inside and they hit those.”
The Braves, who were seeking their first regional championship, finished 19-12.
Anna Gill and Katelyn Loughman added RBI hits in the sixth for Teays Valley, which improved to 24-3 and will play Massillon Perry in a state semifinal May 31 at Firestone Stadium in Akron.
Payton Cox homered in the first inning for Olentangy.
Brooke Wells and Morgan Cox had RBI hits to highlight a three-run fourth inning that put the Braves ahead 4-1, and after Teays Valley got two runs back in the third, Emily Gernert hit a triple to the right-field corner to score Kirsten Kracht in the top of the sixth to give Olentangy a 5-3 lead.
“The sweetness doesn’t wear off,” Vikings coach Derrick Hastler said. “We’ve been lucky, but a lot of things have to go your way to get to this point. They could have folded being down a few runs early. That bounce-back says a lot on (my players’) part.”