ARCANUM — The Kenton Ridge Cougars are district softball champions for the second straight season.
They did it in emphatic fashion.
The Cougars offense exploded for 14 hits and senior pitcher Kylie Ropp struck out 11 batters as Kenton Ridge beat Franklin 11-0 in five innings in a Division II district final game on Friday afternoon at Arcanum High School.
“It’s so exciting,” Ropp said. “I can’t wait to see how far we go this year. I’m super proud of my team.”
Cougars senior Kirsten Wright went 2-for-4 with a home run and five RBIs, freshman Annie Fincham went 4-for-4 with three doubles, Dakotah Timmons went 3-for-3 and freshman Kendall Massie went 2-for-5 with two RBIs.
“We came out and did our job,” said Kenton Ridge coach Sarah Schalnat.
Ropp threw a two-hit shutout, walking just two batters in the victory.
“She is really hitting her spots,” Schalnat said. “We’re not having her hit right now, she’s just focusing on pitching and she’s been doing a great job.”
She kept the Wildcats off balance with both a changeup and curveball, she said. She knew the Cougars bats would come alive and they hit the ball hard in the first inning.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything better from my team,” Ropp said.
In the second inning, Fincham smashed a double to lead off the inning and advanced to third on an overthrow. She scored on a ground ball by Jacee Hamilton to make it 1-0.
Cougars senior Natalee Fyffe followed with a single, sophomore Kyanne Tyson walked and Timmons singled to load the bases. Massie singled to score Fyffe from third and Wright followed with a 2-RBI single to give Kenton Ridge a 4-0 lead.
The Cougars put two more runs on the board in the third inning to take a 6-0 lead.
After back-to-back singles by senior Journey Armstrong and Timmons, Massie singled again to make it 7-0. Wright smashed a home run over the right field wall, clearing the bases to give the Cougars a 10-0 lead.
“I knew I had to make something happen to put some more runs on the board for my team,” Wright said. “It felt good. I knew basically right away.”
The Cougars added a run on back-to-back doubles by sophomore Kyleigh Schnitzler and Fincham to give Kenton Ridge even more breathing room at 11-0. Ropp shut down the Wildcats in the bottom of the fifth to seal the victory.
Wildcats senior Tori Winstead had a double as Franklin finished its season 19-9. The Wildcats advanced to a district final for the first time since 2015, Franklin coach Jim Miller said.
“I told them there’s nobody that gets here by being lucky,” Miller said. “You have to play well or you don’t make it this far. … (Ropp) is solid. She just overmatched us. That’s all there is to it. She threw hard, threw well, spotted it well and we struggled with it. They scored some runs they probably shouldn’t have, but if we don’t score, you don’t have a chance anyway. I’m not disappointed in them at all. (Kenton Ridge) is a good team. They’re going to be tough to beat in the tournament.”
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