Butler routs Northmont in softball sectional


VANDALIA — Northmont took an early lead Monday against Butler in the opening round of the Division I, Southwest III sectional tournament before the Lady Aviators put the game away with a big fifth inning.

The Lady Bolts jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first with Sydney Strickland legging out an infield hit. She scored on two out double by Zoey Hodge.

Butler fought back with two runs in the bottom of the second. Addison Suess hit a leadoff single with Hailey Hayes coming in to pinch run. Hayes stole second and Jami Brockert drew a walk. Bre Christy belted a double to deep left center to drive in Hayes and Brockert.

Northmont got two runs in the top of the third on a controversial play. Strickland got an infield hit and Morgan Pendleton hit a hard grounder to third. On a throw to second Strickland collided with second baseman Kylee Kleiner. It appeared to be incidental contact, but Kleiner got decked and the ball sailed into the outfield.

Strickland scored and Pendleton made it all the way to third base as Butler fans became enraged and began verbally abusing the umpires. Lacie Knick hit a sacrifice bunt to score Pendleton as Northmont reclaimed the lead, 3-2.

Butler scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth on singles by Suess and Brockert and a walk by Ava Cyphers to load the bases. Nora Stammen singled through the left side of the infield to drive in a pair of runs to put the Lady Aviators on top 4-3.

The fifth inning saw Butler score five runs to put the game away. Kaylee Worrell hit a leadoff single and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kleiner. Suess got an infield hit and Brockert got hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Northmont lifted starting pitcher Zoey Hodge with Jadyn Johnson coming on in relief. Sydney Stevens drew a walk to force in a run. After a fly out to center Cyphers hit a triple to right center to drive in Suess and Brockert. Kyleigh Gunter came in to pitch and got tagged for a triple by Nora Stammen that brought Cyphers home to give Butler a 9-3 lead.

The Lady Aviators tacked on another run in the sixth on an RBI single by Suess to make the final score 10-3. Suess earned the victory by pitching all seven innings, allowing eight hits and one earned run with one walk and three strike outs.

Hodge took the loss. She pitched four and one-third innings, surrendered eight hits and seven runs with three walks and four strike outs. Johnson pitched one-third of an inning and surrendered one hit with a walk and two earned runs. Kyleigh Gunter pitched one and a third innings and surrendered four hits and one earned run.

Northmont concluded its season with a record of 15-11. Butler improved to 17-7 before losing 20-7 to Springboro in the next round of the tournament.

“I thought we hit really well. Unfortunately, we hit directly at them and they made the plays. We only struck out three times,” said Northmont coach Kris Mangen. “Their defense was able to make the stops. They had some hits that were strung together driving in runs. We just couldn’t get a run on a tough Butler team.

“I am very proud of our four seniors: Zoey Hodge, Emily Bole, Morgan Pendleton, and Shelby Clagg. They have dedicated 4 years to our high school program and we are grateful for each of them and wish them health and happiness with their next phase in life. Their parents have been great as well and we will miss them,” Mangen added.

Reach Ron Nunnari at (937) 684-9124 or email [email protected].

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