“You can’t hit the rest button in life,” Greenville coach Jerrod Newland said. “When things start snowballing downhill, you’ve got to be tough enough to stop it. Today our kids weren’t tough enough to do it. Their kids were tougher, they wanted the game more than us and they obviously were the better team.”
Greenville pitcher Ally Russell (25-6) settled down after the first, allowing only two hits the rest of the way. She also started a pair of Wave rallies and scored both runs following a one-out double in the third and a leadoff single in the fifth.
But that was all the scoring Kenton Ridge pitcher Courtney Lopez (25-2) allowed as she continually worked out of trouble. Lopez surrendered 13 hits but stranded 11 runners, including three in the bottom of the seventh when Greenville had the tying run at the plate.
“If you’d told me before the game we’d have 13 hits in a regional final, I’d be punching our ticket to Akron,” Newland said.
Lopez said her team’s six-run first changed the way she attacked the Wave lineup.
“It really helped us pitch different pitches, ones we wouldn’t normally do,” she said. “We had a big cushion, and I knew I had my team behind me the whole time. As long as they were up for it, I knew I could do it if they could.”
Elysa Mathews and Monika Foster each delivered two-run singles for the Cougars, while Mykee Holtz drove in one. Learic Kinser started everything with a shot to left on the first pitch of the game and finished 2-for-3.
Brionna Greer had three hits, including a double, for Greenville, while Erin Albright added a pair of singles.