By Rob Kiser
The showdown is set.
The winner of the GWOC North softball title will be determined with a series along the ‘Miami”.
Piqua and Troy will take 7-1 records in the North into next Monday and Tuesdays games to finish GWOC North play.
Greenville is one game back at 6-2 with two games with Sidney remaining, so a three-way share is still possible.
“That’s what people like to see,” Piqua coach Rick Claprood said. “It is Piqua and Troy, like it has been for many years.”
After four games against state-ranked opponents last week, in which Piqua went 1-3, the Lady Indians are 13-4 after two wins over Vandalia-Butler on Monday and Tuesday.
“Number 7 (Greenville D-II), number 8 (Northmont D-I) and number 7 (Hamilton Badin, D-III),” Claprood said. “They were good teams and we weren’t mentally prepared the way we needed to be. We came to play the first game against Greenville (an 8-2 win). We will do a better job as coaches of getting the kid mentally prepared.”
Coming off a 12-3 win over Vandalia on Monday, the Lady Indians looked they were in for a nail-biting finish Tuesday.
Piqua led just 2-1 going to the home sixth, before scoring nine runs to win by run-rule 11-1.
“When these kids start hitting the ball, it is contagious,” Claprood said.
The inning started with Alexis Gordon being hit by a pitch. Following a walk to Alyssa Jones, Reynna Lavey singled.
Kyla Blankenship helped herself with a two-run single, before Kelsie Hall lined a one-run double off the fence.
“These kids are all great kids,” Claprood said. “Kelsie (Hall) had two hits last night and that was a shot she hit tonight.”
Mariah Blankenship’s fielder’s choice scored a run. Kendra Forness singled and Butler got an out at home on Rayna Brownlee’s fielder’s choice.
Megan Anderson was hit by a pitch, Gordon drilled a RBI single, Jones had a two-run single and Lavey had a walk-off two-run single to end it.
“You can go through the order, they were all swinging the bats,” Claprood said.
Piqua had taken a two-run lead in the first.
Anderson had singled and moved to second, before Jones and Lavey had RBI singles.
The Lady Indians were not able to score again until the sixth— having several base runners cut down at third base and running into two double plays.
In the Butler sixth, Lyndsay Achs singled, was sacrificed to second by Riley Clark and scored on Katey Moses’ single to make it 2-1.
But, Piqua never had to take the field for the seventh after the sixth-inning explosion.
Kyla Blankenship threw her second straight three-hitter against Vandalia, striking out six.
On Monday, she struck out nine and walked one while throwing a three-hitter.
“What a job by Kyla (Blankenship) on the mound,” Claprood said.
In Monday’s game, Lavey was 2-for-3 with two doubles and one RBI, while Kyla Blankenship was 3-for-5 with a double and one RBI.
Jones was 3-for-4 with three RBIs, while Anderson was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.
Mariah Blankenship was 3-for-4 with one RBI, Gordon and Hall were 2-for-4 with one RBI and Forness was 1-for-3 with one RBI.
Piqua has several more games before the showdown on the “Miami” — beginning tonight at Lemon Monroe.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.