WYOMING — Losing in the tournament is never an easy thing, but Madison High School’s exit was something out of the ordinary.
The Mohawks took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning Monday in a Division III district softball semifinal against Deer Park. Then they quite literally walked into a defeat.
The second-seeded Wildcats scored six two-out runs without a hit in the sixth, walking eight times and getting hit by a pitch, to rally for a 6-3 victory at Wyoming.
“I’m speechless right now … I’m shocked,” Madison coach Dean Howard said. “The wheels fell off. What else can you say?”
The Mohawks (15-8) had the lead most of the day, jumping ahead 2-0 in the first two batters of the game when Jenna O’Hair singled and Ally King cracked a home run.
Madison, the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division champion, added a run in the third inning when King walked and scored on a ground out by Lilly Dennis. But the fun didn’t last.
“It’s upsetting for sure,” said King, a junior center fielder. “We had ’em and we didn’t. You do what you can do every game. Sometimes it just slips out of your fingers.”
Sabrina Dolph did the bulk of the pitching for the sixth-seeded Mohawks in the absence of Taylor Johnson, who was sick and unable to play.
Dolph issued one walk through the first five innings. She opened the sixth by walking Savannah Miller and Jaimie Wolfe. Samantha Schreibeis flew out to center, Kenzie Schneeman walked and Maddie Hinton struck out.
The bases were full with two outs at that point. Dolph then walked Valary Leland, hit Morgan Mattstedt with a pitch and walked Bailey Weaver to tie the game at 3-3.
Howard then called for O’Hair to make the only pitching appearance of her prep career. She walked Torey Macke, Miller and Wolfe to make it 6-3, with Dolph returning to retire Schreibeis on a grounder.
“She’s never pitched before, but we had to get somebody out there to try to stop the bleeding,” Howard said of using O’Hair, Madison’s lone senior and a Northern Kentucky University recruit as a shortstop. “That’s all we had, so we did what we could. Sometimes it just falls apart.
“We gave it to them. Could we have played better offensive-wise? Yes, but when you give up six runs like that, you’re aren’t going to beat too many teams.”
The Mohawks didn’t go quietly in the seventh as Dolph lined out, Alyssa Badger grounded out, and O’Hair and King followed with singles. But Schreibeis finished her seven-hitter by getting Regan Dorman to ground out.
“I feel for them,” Deer Park coach John Schablein said. “That’s a cruddy way to lose a game, but we’ve all been there at the end of the year with kids hurt and sick. You do what you can do.”
The Wildcats (19-3) stranded eight runners and left the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth innings. They had little to cheer about early in the game and got thwarted by the outfield glove work of King in center and Dennis in left.
“We had two balls that dads in left field say were out — one would’ve been a grand slam, one would’ve been a two-run homer,” Schablein said. “You hate to win that way, but if those balls aren’t caught, it might not have come to that. Defensively, it was a super well-played game. Both teams went and got the ball.”
He said Deer Park didn’t start the sixth inning being extra patient at the plate. But once it was clear that strikes were at a premium, “We were going to milk that until the train stopped rolling.”
“If you look at our stats, we don’t really walk,” Schablein continued. “If we have a problem in some tight games, it’s that our kids swing.”
O’Hair had three hits and King was 2-for-3 for the Mohawks. King’s home run was a no-doubter to right-center field.
“It felt good,” she said. “Every girl dreams about the chance to do that in a league championship or tournament game. It’s exciting.”
The Wildcats finished second behind Taylor in the Cincinnati Hills League this spring. They will head to Lebanon for a 5 p.m. district final Friday against either Brookville or Carlisle.
Schablein is 56-14 in his three years at the Deer Park helm, and the Wildcats have been consistently strong over the last decade. They haven’t had a losing record since 2008.
Deer Park 000-006-x—6-3-0
WP — Samantha Schreibeis (18-3); LP — Sabrina Dolph (5-4); HR — M: Ally King. Record: M 15-8, D 19-3
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