West Liberty-Salem couldn’t have known at the time its 8-0 lead in the first inning wouldn’t be enough. The Tigers added four runs in later innings, and that’s why they beat Brookville 12-9 in a Division III regional semifinal at Wright State on Wednesday.
» PHOTOS: WLS vs. Brookville
The victory puts the ninth-ranked Tigers (20-9) in the regional final for the first time since 2011 when they advanced to state for the third time in four years. They will play West Jefferson, which beat Benjamin Logan 7-2 on Wednesday in the second semifinal, at noon Saturday.
Asked if her team was a confident group, fifth-year West Liberty coach Kenleigh Farris said, “It’s experienced. That’s for sure, which helps. They want to win. They want to do it for themselves and each other.”
» BASEBALL: Carlisle ace silences Miamisburg
Hallie Strapp provided the big hit in the eight-run first inning. After being hit by a pitch in her first at-bat of the inning and scoring, she came to the plate again with the bases loaded and doubled, clearing the bases.
“Obviously, that was huge,” Farris said of the first-inning production. “The girls played a lot more relaxed after that and were seeing the ball well.”
» MORE BASEBALL: Dramatic comeback lifts Kenton Ridge
Strapp added an RBI triple in the third inning. Kelsey Day, who went 2-for-2 with three runs scored, hit a two-run home in the third as the Tigers extended their lead to 11-1.
“We talked to the girls and said we’ve got to keep hitting,” Farris said. “Defensively, the girls played error-less. You couldn’t ask for anything more on that end, but we knew we were facing some good hitters today, and the girls did what they needed to do today and we stayed ahead and won the day.”
Brookville (20-5) rallied with a run in the third and another in the fourth and then three in the fifth and four in the seventh.
Emma Burton tripled twice and doubled for Brookville. Jessica Brown doubled in her last two at-bats. Maddie Hamiel doubled in the fifth and hit a two-run home run in the seventh.
» RELATED: Tuesday’s high school scoreboard
Brookville coach Bob Lenser said he knew his team still had a chance after facing the big deficit.
“They fought the whole way,” Lenser said. “That’s part of our season. We’ve had to scratch, dig and fight to get to where we were. We’ve got a lot of young girls, and I think the nerves might have got to us in that first inning. Seven of our nine starters are freshmen or sophomores. They might have had a little stage fright, I don’t know. But that first inning didn’t go the way we anticipated, and when you give up eight runs to a team like that in the first inning, you’ve really got your work cut out for you.”
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.