TOLEDO — The Wapakoneta Redskins battled all the way until the end.
No. 11 seed Wapakoneta was eliminated from the OHSAA Division I Softball Maumee Sectional Tournament championship with an 11-8 loss at No. 8 seed Toledo Start on Wednesday. But the Redskins entered the final inning trailing by five runs and had the potential game-tying tally at the plate as the game ended.
“It would have been easy to pack it in when you’re down by a lot of runs,” WHS coach Bill Sammons said. “But our girls continued to battle, which was something we did the whole year against some of the stiffest competition we have ever played. Our program is only stronger because of it.”
Down 11-6 in the seventh inning, Wapakoneta rallied with one out as Corrin Wilder hit a double, Katie Lisi followed with a single and pinch-hitter Aryka Watt collected an RBI single. After Allie Wilson drew a walk and the second out came on a strikeout, Lisi scored while courtesy runner Shaylin Cook went to third base and Wilson stood at second on an error.
The game ended when Maddi Doseck’s line drive was caught in center field.
“The thing about these girls, all five seniors did a great job all year of leading this team. We were either really experienced or not experienced at all because of COVID-19,” Sammons said. “These five seniors kept the young girls focused and us in the season. I really appreciate them leading our team correctly, and (Wednesday’s) game was proof of that.”
The Spartans outhit the Redskins 14-10. Each team committed three errors.
WHS had leads of 3-0 after a half-inning and 5-3 after an inning and a half.
“It was really nice to get early leads,” Sammons said. “All year, if you want to see some hits, we’re going to hit the ball. I knew that for us to win games, we had to hit. Our pitching was unproven and had no varsity experience at the start of the season. We had to score runs, and we spent a lot of time in practice working in offense.”
Wilson led off the game with a home run to center field before Taylor West hit a one-out RBI double and Wilder produced a two-out RBI single.
After Start tied the game at 3 in the first inning, Doseck belted a two-run homer to center field in the second to give the Redskins a 5-3 cushion.
The Spartans tied the game at 5 in the third inning and went ahead 7-5 in the fourth.
The Redskins had a 7-6 deficit in the fifth inning by loading the bases with one out before Lisi’s groundout scored pinch-runner Alyna Spangler.
Start extended its lead to 11-6 with three fifth-inning runs and another tally in the sixth.
Rylie Jeanneret pitched four innings in taking the loss for Wapakoneta. She allowed seven runs (six earned) on eight hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Taylor West worked two relief innings, yielding four earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
“Rylie was thrown into the fire and pitched well in pressure situations,” Sammons said. “I expect good things from her going forward.”
Start advanced to play No. 1 seed Anthony Wayne on Tuesday in the OHSAA Division 1 District Tournament semifinals at Rolf Park in Maumee.
The Redskins’ season ended at 12-13 overall.
Sammons praised his team for its character, and for its work on the softball field and in the community. He also thanked fans and Wapakoneta for the strong support for the Redskins.