BRADFORD — As Newton softball coach Mark Gibson walked up to his team for the postgame chat, his team simply chanted “Yes! Yes! Yes!” with raised hands. He then raised his own hand and joined in for one final round, and they all walked away.
“I don’t know if I’ve got anything to say after that,” he said.
Not much needed said. The Indians had already done their talking on the field.
A two-run triple by Mallory Dunlevy keyed a three-run fourth inning, Kylee Fisher hit a solo homer with two outs in the bottom of the sixth that helped the Indians added two more insurance runs and Kristen Rappold, Erin Norman and the Newton defense kept a scrappy Raider lineup in check for enough of the day to help top-seeded Newton claim a 9-5 victory over No. 6 Russia in the Division IV sectional title game Tuesday at Bradford High School.
Newton will play Fayetteville Perry in a D-IV district title game at 11 a.m. Saturday at Middletown.
Newton (18-8), which took the lead in the third inning and never looked back, knew that nothing would be easy the entire game. And it wasn’t either, as the Indians took a 9-3 lead into the top of the seventh, only to have the Raiders load the bases with no outs. Still, Newton reliever Norman was able to escape the inning with minimal damage and preserve the win.
“I knew it was going to be a battle the whole way,” Gibson said. “Russia just never gives up. They always give us a tough game. And it was a full team effort. That’s one of those things you hope for. Coming into this game, we’ve got a lot going on outside of the team right now, and the way that they pulled together was unbelievable. To have a full team effort in a big game like this against a great team like Russia, I’m so proud.”
Lauren Monnin was 4 for 4 with three runs scored to lead Russia, Jenna Cordonnier was 2 for 4 with two RBIs, Claudia Counts was 3 for 4 with an RBI, Shea Borchers was 2 for 4 with an RBI and Grace Saunders had an RBI.
For Newton, Dunlevy was 2 for 4 with two triples and three RBIs, Fisher was 2 for 3 with a double, a homer and three RBIs, Ashlyn Deeter was 3 for 3 with a triple and an RBI, Maddie Weaver doubled and had an RBI, Rappold and Kacie Tackett were each 2 for 4 with a double and Baily Chaney was 2 for 4.
“They’re all just so tough,” Russia coach Michelle Muhlenkamp said. “They’ve got a lot of heart and they bleed blue and gold and would do anything for their teammates.
“…Grace told me old week, ‘I’m fine, Coach, I’m fine, don’t even ask me about (my hand).’ Shea was the same way tonight. She wanted to run, we weren’t going to let her. She’s sitting in there and the trainer has her all taped up, and she said, ‘Cut this off, I’m playing.’ … Kendall Monnin, I haven’t seen her play that tough of outfield all year. It just shows how much she’s grown.”
Russia, which finishes 17-9 overall, won the Shelby County Athletic League title for the third consecutive season. The Raiders won at least 17 games in each of the last three years and have a 55-26 overall record in that time. The team’s six seniors — which includes Saunders — helped lead the success.
“I think what I’ll remember most is the legacy they left behind for the younger generation,” Muhlenkamp said. “We had (low) numbers in softball, but these girls have made softball a fun team to be a part of. We always call it a softball family. They’ve definitely made that be the legacy here — a family. You play for each other, for the person next to you, and not for yourself. I think they started that.”
knock off North
Bradford, 22-3, defeated Tri-County North 8-2 Tuesday at Greenville and will play Cincinnati Christian at 11 a.m. Saturday at Mason for a D-IV district title.
The Railroaders jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the top of the third and, after the Panthers responded by scoring two in the bottom of the third, tacked on four insurance runs in the fourth inning to seal the win.
Skipp Miller was 3 for 5 with three doubles and four RBIs and Bianca Keener hit a home run and added two RBIs to lead Bradford. Miller also shut down Tri-County North over six innings of work, striking out 13 and walking one while allowing four hits and two runs.
fall in tourney
Covington had its season end with a 13-1 loss to Mechanicsburg Tuesday at Fairlawn in a D-IV sectional final.
Covington took the lead in the top of the first on an RBI single by Makenna Gostomsky, who was 2 for 3 in the game. Morgan Studebaker was 2 for 2 and scored the run, but the Buccaneers were limited to five hits on the day.
Covington finished the season 11-9.