The Westerville Central High School softball team advanced to its first Division I regional final by rallying for a 2-1 win over Grove City on May 22 at Ohio State.
The Warhawks improved to 27-2 and will play Mount Vernon for the regional championship Saturday, May 25, at Ohio State.
The Greyhounds, who were seeking their first regional final berth since 2014, finished 21-9.
The game was scoreless heading into the sixth inning as Grove City’s Mylie Torres and Central’s Emily Ruck squared off in a pitchers’ duel.
Torres delivered the first big hit, leading off the sixth with a home run to left, but the Warhawks rallied for two runs in the bottom of the inning on Cami Compson’s RBI triple and Avrey Schumacher’s RBI infield single.
Ruck stranded the tying run at third in the seventh, striking out three in the inning to finish with 13 for the game. She allowed four hits.
“It seems like a magical season, but it worried me because we had two close games this year and both of them were one-run losses to Gahanna and Hilliard Bradley,” Central coach Brian Wamsley said. “We get in those close games and I was hoping that we could pull one out and now we showed that we can do that.”
Torres allowed five hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
“We were facing a kid that hadn’t lost a game all year, so we knew we had to make the most out of our hits,” Grove City coach Ted Williams said of Ruck. “I’m very proud of the way these ladies have played all year long.”
Last season, Central won its first district title before losing to Teays Valley 8-4 in a regional semifinal.
Mount Vernon 8, Gahanna 5
All nine starters had at least one hit for top-ranked Mount Vernon, which scored seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings to beat Gahanna.
The Yellow Jackets improved to 23-0 and the Lions finished 17-10.
Maddy Burdette went 3-for-3 with three RBI to pace the Yellow Jackets, who pounded out 12 hits. Megan Pentz and Bryn Elliott each drove in two runs.
"We're a decent hitting team," Mount Vernon coach Mike Marcum said. "We can be pretty scary with the bat when we've got it going. We're an aggressive team and we're going to take every base we can and manufacture runs."
Marcum's daughter, Macee, pitched five shutout innings, but Gahanna touched reliever Hope Straight for five runs in a frantic seventh-inning comeback that fell short.
Ohio University-bound senior Molly Troutman hit a three-run triple in the seventh off Straight, who has signed with Ohio State.
"We throw both Macee and Hope, but we started Macee because she's more of a finesse pitcher and we thought that might cause Gahanna problems," coach Marcum said. "I guess we made the right call there."