By John Bombatch
SPRINGBORO — Beavercreek broke open a tight 2-1 ballgame with six runs in the fourth inning, and then four more in the fifth, to defeat Middletown, 12-3 in the first round of the Division I Dayton 1 bracket of the sectional tournament, Wednesday, at Springboro High School.
After Natasha Price and Tabatha Koetter drove in Beaver runs in the first, Middletown responded with a run of its own in the second inning. Beavercreek took advantage of three illegal pitch calls against the Middies, sent 10 batters to the plate, drew three walks and scored six times in the fourth inning to pull away to an 8-1 lead.
According to both coaches, the home plate umpire said Middletown pitcher Eboney Sinclair was touching the ball to her glove twice before delivering the pitch. That double touch made the pitch illegal, and each time she was called for it, the runners on base were told to advance one base by the umpire.
In all, three of the six runs were scored as the result of the pitch being called illegal, another scored on a wild pitch, and two others were scored on RBIs by Sydney Harville and Danielle Young.
“We played well on defense — on some days, we can struggle in playing good defense — we still had a couple errors, but we didn’t have the mental lapses, we pitched well, and we played good enough to win,” Beavercreek coach Paul Martin said.
The combination of doubles, hit by Price, Young and Jayci Prunest, with a Koetter walk and Kayla Dinsmore’s two-RBI triple added four more Beavercreek runs to the scoreboard in the fifth inning for a 12-3 lead. The Beavers nearly run-ruled Middletown in the inning, but Middletown’s Taylor Underhill made a nice backhand grab of Ciara Chastain’s fly to center to end the inning.
Young hit two doubles and scored twice, Price had three hits and scored twice, and Dinsmore had her two RBI Triple. In all, Beavercreek bashed 10 hits in the win, while Chastain and Harville each had solid pitching efforts on the mound.
“You’ve gotta play defense, and you’ve gotta hit the ball,” Middletown coach Tyler Callahan said. “When it comes down to it, if you don’t play defense and you don’t hit, you’re not gonna win. You’re just not gonna win.”
Callahan praised the play of Middie catcher Eva Reyes-Smith, saying she was steady under pressure behind the plate, and said the sophomore Underhill is a solid player who is only going to get better next season. The Middies finished the year at 9-19.
The game was originally scheduled to be played at Beavercreek’s Rotary Park, but the game was moved to Springboro due to soggy field conditions.
With the win, Beavercreek is above the .500 mark with a 14-13 overall record. It’s the first time they’ve had a winning record since they’d won their opening game this season to go 1-0 back in March.
Martin said the team’s record is four games better than last season, and the team improved by two game wins against Greater Western Ohio Conference opponents. The last time Beavercreek had an overall season record of .500 or above was in 2012.
Beavercreek will face another team out of the Greater Miami Conference — fourth seeded Lakota West — at 5 p.m. today in West Chester.