RICHMOND - Good teams will find a way to capitalize when given multiple opportunities to do so.
The Indian Creek softball team took advantage of some miscues in the bottom of the fourth inning to plate three runs to rally past Edison, 3-1, in an Ohio Division II Eastern District Sectional semifinal Friday at Jefferson Lake State Park.
"We had to work for everything we got," Indian Creek (15-2) head coach Angela Penner said. "We knew Edison was going to be tough. Edison is a respectful opponent. Their kids play hard. Coach (Spencer) Bendle does a good job."
Indian Creek has advanced to the sectional final at noon today against Big Red. The Redskins will be going for their third straight sectional title. Big Red (21-7) has not played in a sectional final since 2006.
With the loss, the Wildcats came one game short of getting back to the title tilt for the first time since winning a sectional title back in 2011.
"It is always tough when you lose," Bendle said.
Indian Creek 3, Edison 1
Edison 000 100 0 - 1 2 4
Indian Creek 000 300 x - 3 4 1
EDISON (10-14): Westfall (LP, 7K, 1BB) and McConnell; Fankhauser S, RBI; Brenstuhl D.
INDIAN CREEK (15-2): Geanangel (WP, 7K, 3BB) and Orr; Orr S; Monroe 2S, RBI; Allen S, 2RBI.
Miscues were made in the fourth inning, and the Redskins capitalized on the mistakes.
"Everybody here who saw the ballgame could see that," Bendle said. "That tends to happen in softball. It was a tight ballgame. Both pitchers were pitching well. Both teams were battling and scrapping to not give up any runs. Everyone was waiting to see who would break out in an inning offensively and score first.
"I was happy we were able to do that. In the top of the fourth, we broke out and scored first. I thought that was important. I thought that was huge for us.
"After we scored to take the lead, I knew in the dugout, I said to myself I hope they don't come right back and score.
"Give Indian Creek credit. They answered right back. That is what good teams do. Indian Creek is a good team. They bounced back. They put the ball in play and good things happened for them.
"In the fourth inning, things did not go our way. Indian Creek capitalized. That's how it goes."
Paige Geanangel picked up the win. She struck out seven and walked three.
Indian Creek collected four hits - Alexis Monroe ended up with two singles and an RBI, Cheyanne Allen tallied a two-run single and Abby Orr recorded a base hit.
"Give credit to Zoe Westfall, Edison's pitcher," Penner said. "Give credit to Paige. Paige is a competitor. When she needed to, she was able to bear down in the sixth and seventh inning. It was three up and three down in the sixth and seventh innings. Getting that lead-off out in both innings was big.
"That is the way Paige is. She is a fighter. She is a competitor.
"Zoe pitched a nice game. She held our bats down."
Westfall took the loss, striking out seven while issuing just one free pass.
"Zoe pitched a good game," Bendle said. "She has pitched well for us the last two or three weeks. It was no different today. She pitched well. She gave us a chance. She gave us an opportunity to win the ballgame."
Edison had two hits - Caitlin Brenstuhl collected a double, and Skylar Fankhauser ripped a run-scoring single.
The Wildcats had runner on base in each of the first three innings, but was not able to push a run across the plate.
That changed in the fourth.
Catcher Charli McConnell, who also walked in the first, reached on an error to start the inning. She ended up third after sacrifice bunts by Cassady Jarvis and Lynsey Morrison. With two outs, Fankhauser, a freshman, singled up the middle to score McConnell to give the Wildcats a 1-0 advantage.
The Redskins responded in the home half of the inning.
Mallorie Sullivan reached on an error to lead off the frame, and, after a groundout, Bethany Davis also reached on an error.
Next, Monroe singled up the middle. Tiffany Martin fielded the ball cleanly in center field, and the junior threw a strike to McConnell at the plate. The throw beat Sullivan to the plate. Sullivan slid into the glove and the plate. She was called safe on the play tying the score at 1.
Davis moved to third on the play, and Monroe moved up to second.
After a walk and a groundout back to Westfall, Allen singled scoring Davis and Monroe giving the Redskins a 3-1 lead.
"We were down 1-0, and our kids didn't quit," Penner said. "They came right back. We ended up putting pressure on them as they did to us.
"The Indian Creek girls know everyone time they step on to the field the other team brings their A-game. Our girls have to have the mindset to match our opponents. They have to match that mindset and more. I thought we did that today."
The Wildcats started the season with seven seniors on the roster - Kayli Stewart, Madison Hunter, Jackie Wiedaman, Vickie Crow, Westfall, Morrison and Brenstuhl.
"Seniors come through every year," Bendle said. "The seniors care enough and put up with me for four years. That is a testament of their will and desire to play on their part. We will miss the seniors as we do all of the seniors that come through."
Unfortunately, Stewart's day ended early when she left the game with a knee injury in the third inning. She was injured while running to second base. After the half inning was over, she attempted to take her spot in center field, but she collapsed to the ground again.
Martin, who started the game at second base, replaced her in center field, and Wiedaman entered the game to play second base.
"She showed how much heart she has," Bendle said. "She showed her will to play for her teammates. She wanted to get back out there to give more to her team. I hope it is something that can be corrected and fixed easily. I hope it is not too difficult. It is a tough way for her senior season to end with her getting hurt in the sectional semifinals."