Prep softball: Kelly’s homers help Franklin start postseason with rout

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Franklin High School senior left fielder Olivia Kelly talks about Tuesday??€™s 10-0 victory over Chaminade Julienne in a Division II sectional opener at Franklin Community Park.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Olivia Kelly’s power stroke took center stage on a big Tuesday for Franklin High School’s softball team.

Kelly smacked a pair of home runs and totaled five RBIs for the Wildcats, who began Division II sectional play by easily dispatching Chaminade Julienne in a 10-0 run-rule triumph at Franklin Community Park.

“They were just right there down the middle, and they felt right as soon as I hit ’em off the bat,” said Kelly, a senior left fielder who had a two-run homer in the third inning and a three-run shot in the fourth. “It’s great. I love the adrenaline rush. It’s just an awesome feeling.”

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Chloe Miller added a solo home run for her school-record 38th RBI of the season — two more than previous record holder Chelsea Miller, her sister, put up in 2013 — as Franklin improved to 10-14.

The sixth-seeded Wildcats will resume Dayton sectional play at home Thursday against Valley View, the No. 11 seed. Franklin recorded 11-6 and 20-4 wins over the Spartans during the Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division campaign.

“If we hit the ball like that, we can play with anybody,” Wildcats coach Jim Miller said. “I think at times we get ahead of ourselves and start worrying about a game two or three games away and lose focus on the one we’re playing next. They’ve been preached at that it’s one and done. There’s no room for error. We’re only thinking about Valley View.”

Franklin got a two-hit, seven-strikeout effort from pitcher Shelby Raby and two hits apiece from Madison Earles and Brooke Stover in the five-inning contest.

The Wildcats didn’t need any help, but ninth-seeded CJ provided a bunch anyway. The Eagles (7-14) committed seven errors and could only manage back-to-back singles by pitcher Carly Fugett and Natalie Northern in the fourth inning.

This was the view of Chaminade Julienne’s batters against Franklin pitcher Shelby Raby on Tuesday afternoon at Franklin Community Park. Raby tossed a two-hitter in the Wildcats’ 10-0 Division II sectional victory. RICK CASSANO/STAFF
This was the view of Chaminade Julienne’s batters against Franklin pitcher Shelby Raby on Tuesday afternoon at Franklin Community Park. Raby tossed a two-hitter in the Wildcats’ 10-0 Division II sectional victory. RICK CASSANO/STAFF

“We’ve got like eight kids that have never played softball before, so this is all a learning experience for us,” said first-year CJ coach Todd Shuttleworth, noting that he was also without three injured starters Tuesday. “They hit the ball and we didn’t, bottom line. Give their pitcher credit. One of the reasons we didn’t hit is she kept us off stride at the plate.”

Franklin got off to a 3-11 start this year, mostly because of a lack of hitting. But the bats have started to come to life in the last two weeks.

The Wildcats finished 6-6 in the Southwestern Division, five games behind champion Monroe.

“We have games where we show promise, and then we have games where we are just flat,” said Jim Miller, in his seventh year at the Franklin helm. “I wouldn’t have believed that we’d be 10-14. But it’s like they say … you are what the back of your baseball card says.

“They have the ability to salvage their season. That’s what we’ve talked about. We didn’t win the league. It’s the worst record we’ve had in the league since I’ve been here. It’s the worst record we’ve had since I’ve been here. But it’s a new season. We just need to keep this momentum going. I know these seniors don’t want to be done.”

Kelly, Raby, Harley Brooks, Lacey Wilch and Haley Adams are the Wildcats’ seniors. Kelly’s two long balls doubled her home-run total this year.

Chloe Miller, a sophomore and the coach’s daughter, has a team-best .438 batting average.

“She’s carried us,” Jim Miller said. “When runners are on base, she’s done it all year long.”

Chaminade Julienne 000-00—0-2-7

Franklin 024-4x—10-8-0

WP — Shelby Raby (6-9); LP — Carly Fugett (7-14); HR — F: Olivia Kelly 2, Chloe Miller. Records: C 7-14, F 10-14