After failing to get much of anything going off Licking Valley ace Abbe McNabb all game, the Buckeye Valley softball team simply waited her out in extra innings, taking advantage of three ninth-inning walks to walk off with a 2-1 Division II sectional semifinal win Tuesday night in Delaware.
McNabb did what very few opposing pitchers have been able to do to the Barons this season: kept them off-balance.
She couldn’t outlast them, though. After allowing just a run on seven hits through eight-plus innings, BV (20-5) went to work in the bottom of the ninth.
Liz Hamilton started things with a one-out single and, after Tara Warnock lined out to short, Anika Craft walked to put runners at second and third with two down. Craft and Hamilton promptly stole second and third, respectively, on the next pitch before the Panthers (12-14) walked Courtney Beneke to create a force at any base.
Things didn’t exactly work out as planned, though, as Emma Ralph then watched four straight pitches sail out of the zone to cement the outcome with a walk-off walk.
Of course, the only reason the Barons were in position to win in the bottom of the ninth was because they got some pretty stellar pitching of their own.
Craft got the start, allowing just one hit while striking out seven and walking three in four scoreless innings of work. Hamilton came on in the fifth and, while she did allow the tying run to come home on an RBI single off the bat of Brianna Sawyers, allowed next to nothing the rest of the way.
When all was said and done, Hamilton surrendered just a run on two hits while striking out 10 in five innings of action.
Craft led BV at the dish, collecting two hits while scoring a run. Ralph and Lilly Irvine, who singled home Craft to break the scoring seal in the bottom of the first, drove in the runs.
Sawyers, McNabb and Brady Wood had the Panthers’ hits.
With the win, ninth-seeded Buckeye Valley advances to Thursday’s sectional final against seventh-seeded Highland. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m. in Marengo.
Already up 4-0, Olentangy Orange scored five runs in the fourth to break things open on the way to a 9-5 OCC-Central Division win over host Dublin Coffman Tuesday night.
The Pioneers, who improved to 21-2, secured an outright league championship with the win.
Josh Laisure had three hits, scored a run and knocked in another while Caden Konczak scored three times to lead Orange at the plate.
Jacob Tabor earned the win on the mound, allowing an unearned run on three hits while striking out four and walking six in five steady innings.
Canal Winchester 6, Big Walnut 2
The Indians used a pair of three-run innings — the first and the fourth — to build a cushion on the way to an OCC-Capital Division win over the host Golden Eagles Tuesday night in Sunbury.
Drew Beckner led Big Walnut (9-7) at the plate, finishing a perfect 4-for-4 with an RBI. The rest of the lineup, though, combined for just two hits in the setback.
Olentangy 13, Dublin Jerome 12
The Braves scored 12 runs in the fifth and another in the sixth to rally for a win over the host Celtics Tuesday in Dublin.
Down 6-0 entering the fifth, Olentangy used the big inning to flip a six-run deficit into a six-run lead.
Jerome erased the edge with six runs of its own in the bottom half, but the Braves’ single tally in the sixth proved to be the difference.
Tommy Chilicki had a game-best three hits while Brandon Hire had a triple and drove in four runs.
Cole Young collected a team-leading seven kills and four blocks to lead Olentangy Liberty to a three-set win over host St. Francis DeSales Tuesday night in Columbus.
The Patriots took care of business in the first set, winning 25-11 before sealing the deal with wins of 25-14 and 25-22 in the second and third, respectively.
Other Liberty standouts included Noah Koknat, who finished with six kills, 12 digs and four aces; and Nicholas Talbott, who chipped in 16 assists in the win.