EATON — With several players making their postseason debut, Eaton softball coach Maggie Neanen was hopeful her team could put the butterflies behind them when the Eagles met Stivers in a Division II sectional final last week.
The Eagles were able to do just that while soaring to a fourth straight sectional championship with a 20-0 win over the Tigers on Thursday, May 13 at Eaton.
“Stivers was our first tournament game since we got a bye to start,” Neanen said. “We have a lot of kids who got their first start truly in a tournament game and I was worried we would have some butterflies. But we came out and took care of business.”
Eaton, the No. 3 seed, set the tone early scoring four runs in the first.
“We were able to build a quick lead and we had some hot bats,” Neanen said. “Olivia Baumann got her 13th home run on the season and Anna Kramer hit her first ever grand slam. Defensively, we didn’t look the sharpest but we did enough to get the big win.”
Eaton added three more runs in the second for a 7-0 lead. In the third, Eaton scored eight times after two were out for a 15-0 lead.
Baumann finished 3-for-3 with two doubles, a home run and six RBIs. Kramer was 1-for-1 with five RBIs. Allison Mowen went 3-for-3 with a double, triple and three runs scored and Erika Wilkinson was 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
With the win, Eaton advanced to the district semifinal, which was scheduled to be played on Tuesday, May 18 at West Carrollton High School against N0. 2 seed Brookville.
Eaton opened the week against state-ranked Bradford on Monday and suffered a 6-3 setback.
The Railroaders are the No. 4 ranked Division IV team and are led by senior pitcher Skipp Miller, who is committed to playing at Ohio University next season.
“Going into Bradford on Monday, we knew we would be facing a very talented Skipp Miller, so our focus was to shorten up our swings and make contact,” Neanen said. “She throws hard enough and she supplies the power. We did a fantastic job at doing that, we scored 2 runs in the first inning because we were able to capitalize on their errors and we got people on to get us some runs. We didn’t back down from her and that was an awesome thing to see.”
Neanen felt her team was up to the challenge, but fell just a little short.
“Defensively, that was the most locked in we have ever been. We were focused, and again, not afraid of the hot Bradford bats. As a coach that was great to see because ultimately this game was preparing us for tournament,” she said.
Eaton (18-10) closed the week with an 11-6 win over Talawanda.
“We picked up Talawanda as a rescheduled game to really just get us prepared to play Brookville on Tuesday in the district semifinal game,” Neanen said. “We knew they had good hitters and good pitching which is what we are going to get from Brookville on Tuesday. Walking away with an 11-6 score we feel good going into Brookville.”
Mowen was 2-for-4 with two RBI’s and three runs scored. Carsyn Lammers added two hits and drove in two runs, while Baumann and Kramer each two hits.
“Our goal is to get back to a district championship game and I believe we have prepared our girls well enough to get the job done. We finished the regular season 17-10 and we are 18-10 heading into the district semi game,” Neanen said. “We have a goal and we want to accomplish it.”
The baseball team went 1-3 on the week, picking up a win over Oakwood (11-4) to complete league play on Friday, May 14. The Eagles fell to St. Henry (2-0) on Tuesday, Monroe (9-5 in nine innings) on Wednesday and Fairborn, 11-8, on Thursday.
Against St. Henry, the Eagles managed just two hits in a game dominated by pitching.
The Redskins scored a run in the fifth and another in the seventh.
Jakob Keller and Travis Pittman had Eaton’s only hits on the night.
Against Monroe, Eaton fell behind early 5-1 and battled back to tie the game at five-all. But, the Hornets scored four times in the ninth to earn the win.
Pittman had three hits and scored twice. Theo Winings added two hits and three RBI’s. Dawson Blaylock and Reid Tinstman each added a pair of hits.
On Thursday, Eaton traveled to Wright State to play Fairborn. Brock Ebright and Tinstman each had three hits. Tinstman also drove in three runs. Keller drive in two runs.
The Eagles wasted little time taking control in the SWBL finale at Oakwood. Eaton scored five times in the first and led 7-1 after five. They added four more in the seventh.
Ebright was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. Keller and Brady Rice each drove in a pair of runs. Pittman, Rice amnd Tinstman all had two hits.
Eaton (11-9) the No. 3 seed, is scheduled to meet No. 10 Trotwood-Madison in a Division II sectional final on Thursday, May 20 at Eaton.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr