WEST CARROLLTON — The deepest post-season run in Eaton’s softball history came to an end Saturday, May 20.
Eaton fell to No. 8 ranked Springfield Shawnee 11-1, in five-innings, in a Division II district final at West Carrollton High School.
It was Eaton’s first-ever appearance in the district. The Eagles defeated Chaminade Julienne, 11-1, on Tuesday to win the programs first sectional championship.
“I’m super proud of our team for getting here,” Eaton coach Maggie Neanen said following the loss. “The seniors (Grace Miller and Kathryn Madewell) really stepped up throughout the season. When you look at our team, 90 percent of us our underclassman. We’ll have one senior next year. Obviously, we are the first team to get here so they will forever be remembered.”
Neanen’s squad, which finished with a school-record 19 wins, had its five-game winning streak snapped.
“Yeah, I’m disappointed and upset, but we got here,” she said.
Shawnee took the lead for good in the top of the first, scoring twice.
Eaton had just three hits off Shawnee pitcher Mary Britton. Two of those came in the first inning.
Junior Bailee Worley led off with a single. She stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Emily Dungan. Annika Gels drove in Worley with a ground out to make it 2-1. Sophomore Becca Mowen followed with a single to right center.
That would be Eaton’s last hit until the fifth inning when Quinlynn Sittloh singled.
Britton pitched five innings, allowing one run, three hits, striking out four, and walking none. Her defense played well behind.
Eaton, on the other had, struggled defensively. They committed six errors in the game behind Gels, who allowed five earned runs, while giving up seven hits and striking out five.
Shawnee extended its lead to 6-1 after two, scoring four times in the second on just two hits.
“Hats off to Shawnee. Annika has thrown phenomenal all tournament, but Shawnee came out ready. They looked like a team that’s been here before,” Neanen said.
The Braves put the game away with five runs in the top of the fifth.
“Our goals was to get to districts. Obviously, its always to win a state championship,” Neanen said. “The future’s bright. We’ll be back next year. This, like I said last year, left a bitter taste in our mouth. So we’ll be back. Our younger kids, our freshmen and sophomores want to be here. Bailee Worley wants to be here. So, obviously, next year our goal is to win it.”
Last season Eaton reached the sectional final for the fist time in more than a decade.
Despite the disappointment of losing, Neanen said she is proud of her team.
“I’m proud of them. They keep making history,” she said. “I don’t think they realize what all they’ve done this year. I don’t think it’s really set it. It will eventually. It gives them more to look forward to next year.”