The Cambridge High softball team took the first step Monday night toward their ultimate team goal each season … a berth in the Ohio High School Athletic Association District Tournament.
In first-round sectional action against No. 12 seed Buckeye Trail, the No. 3 seeded Lady Bobcats advanced to the Division III Divisional Championship game with an 11-2 victory at Cambridge City Park.
“We get bunts when we’re supposed to, and then the hits that come with it,” CHS head coach Bob Shepard said. “And that’s the name of the game, and right now we’re doing it pretty well.”
“Add to that we got another good shot from Abby (Mann) and our defense was solid tonight,” added Shepard. “And that’s what you have to do to keep progressing in tournament play. If we can take care of business on Wednesday against Tusky Valley, we can move on to districts. We hope to get there, that’s our goal every year. is to get to the district tournament, and this year is no different.”
This Cambridge offense has kicked off in recent weeks, propelling the Lady Bobcats to a 15-5 record after Monday’s Division win.
CHS had 11 runs on 11 hits in the game, taking a 10-0 lead after four innings.
Things seemed to be heading for an early end with a five-innings grace victory for Cambridge, but the Lady Warriors fought back in the top of the fifth.
Singles from senior Abby Wayble and freshman Lindsey Smith, along with a step drawn by Morgan Watson, saw the Lady Warriors clear a pair of runs against CHS second runner Abby Mann to shoot under of 10-2 and avoid the early end.
“It’s something we’ve been doing all season, these girls keep playing,” explained BT first-year head coach Devani Roe. “I can say this team is not giving up, and that’s a real positive trait that we can take next year.”
“We have everyone coming back except two people,” Roe added. “So we’re delighted with that, and hope to take some valuable lessons learned this year and build on them next season. I’m happy with how this season has gone, the girls have worked hard and we’re looking forward to it. next season.”
Buckeye Trail is slipping to 5-13 this season and still has a few catch-up games to play to close out the season.
Cambridge jumped out early with a pair of first-inning runs against Buckeye Trail starter Gwen McElwain. Mann hit an RBI double, with Joynia Conrad adding an RBI single for an early 2-0 advantage.
CHS nailed three more runs in the second to increase the lead to 5-0, Kendall Kenworthy curled a long tripe and cane home on Morgan Bradison’s RBI base hit to lead out of bounds.
Then in the third, the Lady Bobcats opened the scoring with a five-run rally with senior Ava Byerly slamming a double to tackle a pair of RBIs. Ryleigh Goodman followed with another brace to score Byerly, with Mann picking up his second RBI of the game with a hit.
Byerly paced Cambridge’s offense with a double, two singles with two RBIs, Mann and Conrad each doubled, a single with an RBI. Goodman with an RBI double, Kenworthy with a triple, and Bradison’s RBI base for the winners.
Mann pitched the full game for the pitching victory, allowing two runs on six hits with 11 Ks and three walks.
Buckeye Trail led by Samantha Jackson with a pair of doubles, while Wayble had two singles and Lindsey Smith’s single.
Cambridge will now host Tusky Valley on Thursday at 5pm at Cambridge City Park in the Division III Championship game. Tusky Valley shut out Coshocton 10-0 in the night’s other semifinal.
“I feel good in our team, we’ll see what happens once we get further down the tournament track,” Shepard offered, “But I like the way we’re playing right now, we’ll be come back here on Thursday and see if we can continue.”