The Shawnee High School softball team is in the thick of the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division title race.
After starting the season 4-3, the Braves have won six of their last seven games. Shawnee (10-4, 8-2 CBC Kenton Trail) trails league leader Jonathan Alder (14-1, 8-1) by one game.
The Braves have been explosive at the plate, outscoring their opponents by 58 runs.
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“We’ve been hitting really consistently this year, which has been a big plus,” said Braves seventh-year coach Chris Roberts.
Shawnee has five players hitting .396 or better — Alise Moneypenny (.458, 15 RBIs), Paree Furness (.423), Natalie Linn (.400, 17 RBIs), Reagan Simpson (.400, 11 RBIs) and Tori Huxley (.396, 13 RBIs). Dani Ross leads the team in RBIs with 21.
The Braves have also been exceptional on defense, Roberts said. They’ve committed 15 errors all season.
“All three facets of the game have been going well for us,” Roberts said.
Shawnee sophomore starting pitcher Hannah Beers is 9-1 this season with 50 strikeouts and a 2.86 ERA in 58.2 innings pitched.
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“(Beers) moves the ball around and is really good at hitting her spots,” Roberts said. “She moves the location and keeps hitters off balance.”
Sophomore Taylor Cox has also been steady on the mound, going 1-2 with 15 strikeouts and a 2.82 ERA in 22.1 innings pitched.
The Braves lost two close games to Miamisburg in a doubleheader to open the season, but bounced back to win 10 of their next 12 games.
Shawnee beat rival Kenton Ridge 7-6 on Monday, but dropped a 7-6 game to the Cougars on Wednesday.
“We’ve always had a really good rivalry with KR,” Roberts said. “The games were carbon copies of each other. We went up 7-1 on Monday and they scored five in the bottom of the fourth inning and we hung on. They were up 7-1 on Wednesday and we scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.”
The Braves face a huge series with Jonathan Alder next week. They travel to Plain City on Monday and host the Pioneers on Wednesday.
“We have to have a sweep there to really stay in the conference race,” Roberts said. “We know what we need to get done there.”
The crossover games with CBC Mad River Division teams also count in the league standings, meaning the Braves can’t take any nights off. They beat Northwestern 7-2 on Thursday and face both North Union (13-3, 7-2) and Indian Lake (7-6, 5-4).
The Braves have three seniors — Furness, Josie Gray and Hannah Spitzer.
The future is bright beyond this season, Roberts said.
“We’re very young,” he said. “Looking forward, we’re very optimistic about our future. We have several kids on travel teams and it shows.”
Tournament draw: The postseason is nearly upon us.
Coaches will begin voting for postseason seeding this week. The tournament draw is scheduled for Sunday, April 28.
The sectional tournament begins May 4.
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