Softball: Pickerington Central captures district title; season ends for Hilliard Darby, Delaware
Pickerington Central 5, Hilliard Darby 2
Central softball coach Stephanie Peterson only half jokingly called her team’s win at Darby in a Division I district final May 19 “the Colleen Bare show.”
The Tigers’ junior shortstop shrugged and tried to deflect credit, but her performance both at the plate and in the field proved crucial to her 12th-seeded team winning its first district championship since 2013.
Bare homered to straightaway center field in the first inning, then played flawless defense the rest of the way as Central responded to two Darby runs in the first with two of their own in the third, then added one run in the fifth and another in the sixth.
“I was ready to go. We were all ready. I was seeing the ball really well and I went after it,” Bare said. “We have a lot of energy. We pick each other up. We just go.”
Central improved to 20-7 and will play Mount Vernon in a regional semifinal May 26 at Olentangy Orange. The Tigers were coming off a 7-5 upset win at second-seeded Grove City in a district semifinal May 17.
Tigers pitcher Kenzie O’Neal walked two in five shutout innings of relief of starter Grace Barnett, who gave up only an RBI double to Jordyn Anderson and a single to Erin Littin in the first inning. Darby’s other run scored in the first on a fielder’s choice.
Sara Tailford had three hits and Tori Angles had a single and two RBI for Central.
“We’re peaking at the right time and I think that’s key. It’s great to be seeded highly or whatever but as long as you’re peaking at tournament time, that’s what matters,” Peterson said. “(Answering after Darby scored) told me we weren’t going to give up.”
The 11th-seeded Panthers finished 19-9 and reached their first district final since 2009.
“Our bats didn’t come out,” Darby coach Shawn Papp said. “I thought if we could hold them to five runs, we could have had a shot, but we couldn’t get the sticks out.”
Mount Vernon 14, Delaware Hayes 2 (6 innings)
Sixth-seeded Delaware fell at third-seeded Mount Vernon in a Division I district final May 19 to finish 19-4-1. It was the Pacers’ first district final appearance since 2015.
“We knew Mount Vernon was going to be tough,” Delaware coach Mark Thomas said. “They’re a great team, they’re a veteran team, they were senior-led.”
The Pacers’ Addy Tope scored the game’s first run on an error, but Mount Vernon answered with two runs in the bottom of the first on an error and an RBI single by Makaylia Schlosser. The Yellow Jackets then scored twice in the second on a pair of errors.
Delaware added a run in the third on Judaea Wilson’s RBI single, but Brooke Radermacher hit a solo home run in the third and Rae Straight and Carlena Fiorilli each hit solo home runs in the fourth to give the Yellow Jackets a 7-2 lead.
Straight and Radermacher also homered later in the game.
“We just couldn’t put the ball in play,” Thomas said. “Against a good team, you have to put the ball in play.
“The times we did put the ball in play and made them play defense, they made mistakes. And we capitalized on their mistakes (early). We just couldn’t get the ball in play (later) in the game to make them make mistakes and give us a chance.”
Tope finished 2-for-3 to lead the Pacers.