With a 10-team sectional made up of mostly Central Buckeye Conference teams, Roberts knew the Braves would have a strong chance at one of the top two seeds. The larger draw also allowed the area to earn two district berths. In the past, the smaller bracket allowed for just one berth, he said.
The key to the Braves success has been pitching and defense, Roberts said. Braves senior pitcher Hannah Beers is 14-2 with a 1.426 earned run average, 122 strikeouts, five shutouts and a no-hitter. Defensively, the Braves have been outstanding behind her, committing just 12 errors in 19 games.
“We’ve been great in the circle,” Robert said. “(Beers) has just been lights out. Our defense has been phenomenal. … You can always rely on your defense. The hitting comes and goes. You’ll always have those days. Our defense has always been a constant. I think that’s why we’ve done so well because we play defense so well.”
If the seeding plays out, the Braves could face Brookville for a second time this season in a D-II district matchup. Shawnee beat the Blue Devils 8-5 on April 22.
However, they’re not taking any games for granted, he said.
“You’ve got to play them one at a time,” Roberts said.
The Braves advanced to a D-II district final game in 2019 and are seeking their first trip to the regional semifinals since 2017. Shawnee is extra motivated after missing last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re a senior-loaded team,” Roberts said. “We’ve got a lot of upperclassmen and they play that way. We don’t get rattled very easily.”
In the Tecumseh 1 bracket, Kenton Ridge (13-11) earned the No. 3 seed and will host Bellefontaine at 5 p.m. on May 13.
No. 9 Urbana (7-12) travels to fourth-seeded Chaminade Julienne (17-5) at 4:30 p.m. May 11. The winner will travel to second-seeded Benjamin Logan (15-7) at 5 p.m. May 13.
The KR-Bellefontaine winner will play the CJ-Urbana-Benjamin Logan winner at Urbana at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18 at Urbana High School.
Mechanicsburg (17-4) earned the No. 2 seed in the D-IV North sectional. The D-IV third-ranked Indians will host Catholic Central (0-12) in a D-IV, North I sectional at 5 p.m. on May 11.
Southeastern (10-9) earned the fourth seed in the D-IV South sectional. They’ll host fifth-seeded Lockland (6-5) at 5 p.m. May 11 in a D-IV, South 2 sectional game. With a victory, the Trojans would play the winner of Felicity-Franklin and Cincinnati Oyler at 5 p.m. on May 18 at Kings High School.
The winner of the North I and South 2 will meet in a D-IV district final game on Friday, May 21.
West Liberty-Salem (13-9) earned the No. 3 seed and will host No. 19 Greenon (2-14) in a D-III, Dayton 3 game on Monday, May 10. The winner will face seventh-seeded Versailles (13-1) at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 13.
On the other side of the Dayton 3 bracket, No. 9 Northeastern (10-14) will host No. 11 National Trail (8-8) at 5 p.m. May 10. The winner will travel to third-seeded Milton-Union (15-7) at 5 p.m. May 13.
The winner of those brackets will meet in a D-III district semifinal game at 5 p.m. May 17 at a site to be determined.
Springfield and Tecumseh both opted for the D-I, North 2 bracket.
The No. 12 Arrows (10-12) will travel to No. 11 Springboro (6-12) at 5 p.m., May 10. The No. 15 Wildcats (7-11) will travel to No. 6 Vandalia Butler at 5 p.m., May 10.
The winner of those two games will play at the higher-seeded teams field at 5 p.m., May 12. The winner of that game will face the winner of Lebanon-West Carrollton and Stebbins at 5 p.m., May 17 at Kettering Fairmont High School.
The complete bracket can be found at ohsaa.org/swdab.