The seniors on the Lakota West and Milford Softball teams had a lot to look forward to this past weekend with a district softball championship game and graduations ceremonies all packed into one weekend. Throw is some spring rain storms and the weekend became even more interesting for all involved.
The game was originally scheduled for a 5pm start on Friday, but was moved up to 2pm because of the Lakota West graduation set for Friday evening. As it turns out, both teams were also racing against incoming thunderstorms. The weather took a turn for the worse around the 4th inning as approaching storms grew closer and Milford led 1-0. As both teams took on a sense of urgency, Lakota West scored four runs in the top of the 5th. Sophomore Casey Bramble started the inning with a walk while Sophomore Alyssa Triner reached base on error. The Eagles pitched around Junior Alli Cummins walking her for the second time of the game and loading the bases. Junior Lauren Betz reaches base on error scoring Bramble. Sophomore Cam Wesley hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield scoring Triner. Senior Pitcher Megan Brankamp gave the Firebirds a three run lead when she hit a double scroing both Alli Cummins and Lauren Betz.
Milford struck back immediately scoring three runs in the bottom of the 5th knotting the game at four runs each.
The Firebirds started the 6th inning with a flyout to centerfield before the game was placed on weather delay around 4pm. With a graduation ceremony looming for the Firebird seniors and a radar showing orange/red on the horizon, the game was postponed to 11am on Saturday with less than two innings remaining.
Bramble started Saturday’s game reaching base on an error by the shortstop. Triner grounded out for the second out of the inning. The Eagles elected to walk Cummins once again, but Lauren Betz followed the walk with a double to right field scoring Bramble and giving the Firebirds a one-run lead, 5-4.
Unwilling to quit, Milford started the bottom of the 7th with a double to centerfield. The next two batters went down with a 4-3 ground ball and a flyout to centerfield. One out away from the end of their season, the Eagle’s, Katelyn Rheude, hit a single scoring one run and tying the game.
What was meant to be a quick two innings on a Saturday morning now turned into an extra-inning affair and now the Milford Eagle seniors were battling the clock for their 4pm graduation. Both teams were held scoreless in the 8th and 9th innings before Wesley started the 10th with double. Senior Emma Rednour entered the game in the 10th and hit into a fielders choice with Wesley beating the throw home and giving the Firebirds a one run lead going into the bottom of the 10th.
Milford tied the game, again, with two outs in the bottom of the 10th. The runner on third base ran into Lakota West third baseman Alyssa Triner as she was fielding the ball. Triner was unable to make the play at first as a result of the collision as the runner from third scored the tying run.
The Eagles moved away from their strategy of pitching around Cummins and the junior started the inning with a single to left field. Betz followed with a single to centerfield. Wesley approached the plate with two doubles already for the day and Milford chose to walk her and load the bases. Brankamp followed with a single scoring one run and returning the lead to the Firebirds.
Brankamp went on to finish the game from the mound in the 11th throwing to five hitters and striking out the final hitter to end the game.
The game marked the 9th time the Lakota West softball team has won a district title since the school opened in 1997.
Next Game Regional Semi-Finals, Round of 16): The Firebirds (19-10) play Lebanon (27-3) on Wednesday, May 24, 2 pm at Centerville HS.
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