ATHENS, Ohio —In the end, a pair of two out rallies made the difference.
The top-seeded Sheridan softball team took a 5-0 victory over second-seeded Meigs, in Monday night’s Division II district semifinal at Ohio University, with all five of the SHS runs coming with two outs and four of the five coming after a two-out error.
Meigs (20-4) left two runners on base in the top of the first inning, after Devyn Oliver led off the game with a double and Danielle Morris drew a two-out base on balls. MHS reached base on two-out error in the top of the second inning, but Sheridan (21-4) retired the next batter.
After leaving a runner on second base in the first frame, the Lady Generals scored the game’s first run of the game in the bottom of the second, when Liv Johnson scored a two-out single by Maddie Arent. Following two walks and an error, Arent scored on a wild pitch, before a flyout ended the inning.
Oliver singled to lead off the MHS third inning, and a one-out double by Alliyah Pullins put her two runners in scoring position. However, a flyout to the shortstop and a strikeout ended the frame with both runners stranded.
“The ball was short at the cut off and I really thought, even with Devyn, that they would get her,” Swann said of not sending the speedy Oliver on Pullins double. “(Sheridan) ended up bobbling it and if I would have ended up sending Devyn, she would have made it.”
A two-out double by Breanna Zirkle in the following inning was the final time that the Lady Marauders reached scoring position in the game.
Sheridan stranded two runners on base in both the third and fourth innings, but got back on the board in the fifth. First, Maddy Towbridge singled home Addie Smith, who had reached on a two-out error. Next, Arent singled home Johnson and Towbridge for the final two runs of the 5-0 SHS victory.
Johnson was the winning pitcher of record in a complete game for Sheridan, striking out 13, walking two and allowing five hits.
Pullins suffered the setback in two innings for Meigs, allowing two runs, one earned, on three hits and three walks. Zirkle pitched the final four innings, allowing three unearned runs, four hits and two walks. Both MHS pitchers struck out one batter.
“(Pullins) just wasn’t hitting her spots as well as she had in the last two games,” Swann said. “(Zirkle) throws a little junk and moves the ball quite a bit, I thought she did pretty well.”
Oliver led the Lady Marauders at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double. Pullins was 1-for-2 with a double, while Zirkle went 1-for-4 with a double for the Maroon and Gold.
Johnson and Arent both recorded two hits to lead the Lady Generals, with Arent driving in a game-best three runs and Johnson scoring a team-best two runs.
Meigs committed five errors and left eight runners on base in the setback, while Sheridan had just one error and 10 runners stranded.
The loss means the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division champion Lady Marauders will have to say farewell to seniors Alliyah Pullins, Danielle Morris, Morgan Lodwick, Bre Colburn, Maddison Woodyard and Devyn Oliver.
“They are a special group of softball players and a special group of kids,” Swann said of his seniors. “They’re good kids more than anything, but they were able to play the game of softball at the highest level. We’re going to miss them, some will continue their career, some will move on to other things.”
In four seasons at Meigs, they have helped the Maroon and Gold to over 70 victories, three sectional titles, and a league championship.
“We fell one goal short of the goals that we set for this year,” Swann said. “I’m just so proud of them. Going back to Saturday, nobody gave us a chance and we kept fighting.”
Meigs will have a chance to end the year with a victory, as a rescheduled TVC Ohio contest has the Lady Marauders traveling to River Valley on Wednesday.
Sheridan will return to Ohio University on Wednesday, when fifth-seeded Warren will look to upset another top-seed this postseason.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.