Badin girls blanked by Northwestern, remain winless in regional play

The Springfield Northwestern High School softball team feels the same way about last season’s stunning loss in the Division III regional finals as it did about Bry White’s fifth-inning blast.

Both are long gone.

Northwestern — aided by White’s home run and Jenna Robbins’ one-hitter — beat Badin 7-0 in a D-III regional semifinal Wednesday at Wright State University.

The Warriors reached the title game last season, too, before falling to Johnstown-Monroe on a walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh.

“New year, new game,” White said. “We just have to forget about everything that happened last year and come out strong.”

For the most part, Robbins (18-0) did that against the Rams, striking out seven and walking two. The Rams (26-3) managed four baserunners against Robbins on a single, two walks and an error. Senior Sam Sander’s clean single to left in the top of the second was the Rams’ lone hit.

“My defense, they’re the ones that held Badin to a one-hitter,” Robbins said. “Props to them. If they weren’t there, I don’t know what I’d do.”

The Warriors (26-2) got to Badin starter Nicole Rawlings (24-3) with a run in the third on Jamie Rutherford’s RBI single. After Robbins struck out the side in the fourth, the Warriors made it 3-0 on Maddie Current’s RBI triple and Miranda Gillman’s RBI single.

White’s homer in the fifth, a shot to left over the 200-foot mark, and Robbins’ RBI double pushed the lead to 5-0. Northwestern capped the scoring in the sixth on Badin’s two-out fielding error and two ensuing throwing errors with the bases loaded that plated two more.

The Rams are now 0-4 in regional play, dropping semifinal decisions in 1992, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

“I’m proud of them for what they’ve done and what they’ve accomplished,” Badin coach Greg Stitzel. “We’ve just got to fight our way back. The program has come a long way and it it seems like we’re just one or two plays away.”

The Rams thought they were on their way in the first inning when right fielder Anna Cantwell made a spectacular diving catch on a ball hit over her head and near the line. But from there the Rams committed three uncharacteristic errors.

“We had our opportunity early,” Stitzel said after the Rams stranded one runner in each of the first three innings. “We gave them momentum and that was all (Robbins) needed. She perked up and was her normal self. A great pitcher and a great team.”

Northwestern finished with 11 hits, including multi-hit games from Ashlee Barga, Robbins and Current. Five players knocked in runs.

“That’s something that we have, that each player can contribute in a different way,” Northwestern coach Missy Johnson said. “That kind of showed what we can do.”

The Warriors get another chance Saturday to put their talents on display. Northwestern plays Columbus Ready (13-10) at noon for a trip to the state semifinals.

The Warriors were one out away last season. Leading 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Johnstown-Monroe won it with a two-out, two-run homer.

“It’s not (on our mind),” Robbins said. “We know that it happened, but we have to get that out of our mindset. I don’t any of us are nervous at all. That’s different from last year. Last year we were super nervous. This year we’re chill.”

Ready defeated West Liberty-Salem 4-2 in Wednesday’s second regional semifinal.

Badin 000-000-0—0-1-3

Northwestern 001-222-x—7-11-0

WP — Jenna Robbins (18-0); LP — Nicole Rawlings (24-3); HR — N: Bry White. Records: B 26-3, N 26-2

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