Wapakoneta Redskins freshman Megan Fisher (10), left, stretches to catch a ball at first base Saturday in a Division II high school softball sectional final against the Napoleon Wildcats at Wapakoneta High School. (Staff photo/Michelle Frank)
The Wapakoneta Redskins scored in every inning of their tournament game Saturday, and they needed every bit of those runs in their comeback win.
The Redskins overcame two separate four-run deficits against the visiting Napoleon Wildcats during a 10-8 victory Saturday in a Division II high school softball sectional final at Wapakoneta High School.
Redskins coach Bill Sammons explained what he felt was the reason his team rallied for a win Saturday, as Wapak trailed after Napoleon’s at-bat in each of the first four innings.
“Scott (Wilson), our assistant coach, hit the nail on the head. He said it’s tenacity. These girls have tenacity,” Sammons said. “All of these underclassmen are playing. We had to focus in on our job at hand, which was basically win the pitch. That was our goal at the beginning of the year, to take every game, inning by inning, and win that pitch. That’s exactly what we did. Winning the pitch wins the inning.”
After the Wildcats posted a three-run fourth inning to lead 8-4, the Redskins had their best inning of the game with a three-run bottom half of their own.
Renee Lovett and Sierra Sammons each singled with one out before Blasia Moyler hit a home run in the second straight inning, cutting the Redskins’ deficit to one, 8-7.
After the Wildcats went scoreless in top half of the fifth, Wapak took the lead in its next at-bat.
Tiffanie Camper singled home Alisha Dirr for the tying run. Camper scored on a Sammons single for the go-ahead run, as the Redskins led 9-7.
Wapak added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth.
Megan Fisher doubled to start the inning and, after back-to-back walks, scored on an error.
The Redskins, however, had the bases loaded with zero outs in the sixth and scored only once.
Fisher entered the game in relief of Lovett in the fifth inning and shut Napoleon down, as the Wildcats went scoreless in the final three innings.
Lovett was unable to complete the game in the circle, a rare occurance for the senior.
The Wildcats had much success against Lovett and the Redskins early, posting eight runs in four innings.
Napoleon led 5-1 after two innings. The Wildcats had two triples in the first inning.
“We are not a good first two innings team,” Sammons said. “Ninety-five percent of our runs (allowed) have been scored in the first two innings. We need to figure out a way to get around that, but it’s nice because I’d rather have this as the outcome than have them score at the end and win.”
In four innings pitched, Lovett allowed eight runs (three earned), seven hits and two walks, striking out one.
“It’s a rarity I take her out,” Sammons said. “A slide into second might have caused injury to her knee or something like that. I don’t know. I just know we had to go with somebody else.
“Renee was a team player. She was all for it. She never said anything against it. Whatever I said, she did.”
Fisher earned the win after allowing four hits and two walks with one strikeout.
“Megan had tunnel vision,” Sammons said. “That’s great, to see a freshman come out and close a big game like that.”
Moyler homered twice Saturday for the second straight home game. Moyler hit two home runs Tuesday in the team’s regular season finale against Fort Recovery.
“It’s not all about Blasia,” Sammons said. “She did a great job; she did her job. She’s strong enough to make that ball go over the fence, but everyone on this team deserves as much credit as much as Blasia does. Blasia did her job, and so did everybody else.
“Blasia is a special athlete. That kind of athlete does not come along very often in a coach’s career. I’ve had two and she’s one of them. Her home runs were crucial. It was neat to see the team rally around that, too.”
Sammons and Fisher each had three hits Saturday.
The Redskins caught a tough break while they had the bases loaded in the sixth.
Alisha Dirr was injured sliding into second base after a flyout. She was carried off the field and substituted for.
After the pitching change and Dirr’s injury, excluding Moyler, the Redskins finished the game with a different player at each infield position than how they started.
After the game, Dirr was on crutches.
Sammons said Sunday night Dirr will have an MRI today but is out for the rest of the season.
“With Alisha going down, the girls could have packed it in. It was nice to see the girls do their job, which is basically focus in on what they did.”
In the game-clinching seventh, the team’s lone senior infielder Lovett played third base, Socorra Cerda was at shortstop, Sammons returned to second base where she started and Riley Culver entered the game at first.
Lovett and Cerda occupied the left side of the infield, each dealing with apparent injuries, and made putouts at first base, where Culver stretched for the third out doing the splits in the process to secure the ball into her glove after a throw from Cerda.
With their win Saturday, the Redskins advanced in the tournament to face Western Buckeye League foe, the Shawnee Indians, in a Division II district semifinal at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Miller City High School.
Wapakoneta beat Shawnee, 2-1, in nine innings in the two teams’ league contest April 11 in Wapakoneta.
“It is going to be difficult to beat Shawnee twice,” Sammons said. “It’ll be harder to beat Shawnee the second time than the first time.
“They’re starting to find their groove. They beat a great team in Elida. We just have to stay focused on what we do. We have to think of it as a faceless opponent.”
Wapakoneta will be Shawnee’s third straight WBL opponent in the postseason.
The Indians beat Celina, 7-6, in 11 innings in a sectional semifinal and then no-hit Elida as part of a 2-0 win in a sectional final.
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