SOFTBALL: 'Skins top Cougars to advance
BATH TOWNSHIP — The momentum was gone but the lead wasn’t.
In the end, that was all that mattered.
The Wapakoneta Redskins completed their Division II softball sectional semifinal game Tuesday by blanking the Van Wert Cougars 3-0.
Wapakoneta scored two quick runs in the first inning Monday before lightning and rain ended play in the second inning.
The Redskins wouldn’t score again until the top of the seventh on Tuesday.
“It was tough coming back and playing after a rain delay,” Wapak coach Bill Sammons said. “All the momentum is lost and we have to continue where the ball was rolling. It took a couple innings but we got it rolling again.”
Pitcher Renee Lovett bounced back after a tough stretch, giving up three hits in the second and third innings.
After allowing the first two batters in the third to reach base, Lovett hit her stride, retiring the next 11 batters before a two-out double in the sixth.
But Lovett got a strikeout to end the sixth and sat the Cougars down in order in the seventh to seal the deal.
She finished with nine strikeouts.
At the plate, the Redskins had nine hits.
Lovett led off the first with a single and eventually scored on Carli Sammons’ single. Sammons would later score on Ashley Knippen’s groundout to make it a 2-0 lead.
Wapak added a final insurance run in the seventh.
Kati Sawmiller and Marcie Grothause reached on back-to-back one-out singles. Then Ashlie Cox singled to drive in Grothause.
The Redskins will face the Celina Bulldogs in a sectional final at 5 p.m. Thursday at Bath.
It will be the fourth meeting of the season between the two teams. Celina won the first three meetings by scores of 14-4, 11-1 and 3-2.
“The biggest thing we have to do the rest of the tournament is believe,” Bill Sammons said. “I really think the only team that can beat us is ourself. We need to stay focused and believe that we can do this because we can.”