Monroe falls to Crestview in 3A semis

ELM GROVE — Plenty of two-out lightning struck the J.B. Chambers Youth Sports Complex on Wednesday evening.

Four of the five runs scored in the OVAC 3A semifinal pitting No. 2 seed Crestview and No. 3 seed Monroe Central came with two away. The Rebels tallied three of those runs, however, and left Ben’s Field with a historic 4-1 victory.

Crestview returns to the J.B. Chambers Youth Sports Complex at 7 Friday night to face Magnolia for one of four Tom Bechtel Softball Championships slated to be contested at the complex that evening.

“This is great for our seniors,” Crestview head coach Greg Eskra said. “We have four leaders; very good girls.

“This is good for our program and our team. We improve to 17-3, which ties a school record for wins.”

Kaedyn Sutton shined in the circle and at the plate for the Rebels, whose losses have come against LaBrae, Southeast and Girard. She struck out 10 and walked one on the rubber and aided her own effort by singling twice and driving in two runs.

“She’s a freshman and we ask a lot of her,” Eskra said. “She’s one of our better hitters and she’s definitely our No. 1 pitcher.”

Sutton’s complete-game outing was outstanding, but her opponent in the circle — Shay Giesey — wasn’t too bad herself. She fanned five and walked two and allowed five hits.

“She threw a good game,” Eskra noted. “She kept us off-balance the first time through the lineup.”

Indeed.

Giesey retired the first eight batters, but ran in trouble starting with the Rebels’ No. 9 hitter — Taylor Mellington. The right fielder doubled to deep left with two gone in the third, setting the table for what would be the big inning for the Columbiana Countians.

With leadoff batter Haley Eskra up, Mellington attempted to steal third. But the Seminoles’ throw there went off the helmet of the batter and Mellington scored on the dead ball. Then, two batters later, Sutton rapped a two-run shot to center that cleared the bases giving Crestview a 3-0 advantage.

“That was a big inning there,” Coach Eskra said. “We got kickstarted there.”

Monroe Central (14-7) created its own 2-out magic in the fourth. Allee Zwick reached third on a single and a two-base error. Regan Hamilton followed a run-scoring double. From there, Hamilton and the next two runners in scoring position (including two in the sixth) failed to score. All told, Monroe Central left five runners on base.

“We have to hit the ball with runners in scoring position,” Seminoles head coach Michael Brock said. “We’ve been struggling with that for about a week-and-a-half.”

The Rebels tacked on an insurance run in the fifth on an RBI single by Sutton that plated Olivia Strank.

“They’re a a good team,” Brock said. “It took us about three to four innings to get to their pitcher.

“We just made too many mistakes; the little ones that don’t seem to matter, but end up coming back to bite you.”

Despite the loss, Brock lauded his squad’s never-say-die attitude and is looking forward to what his players can accomplish the next few weeks.

“We’re looking forward to taking the PVC and getting into the tournament and making some noise there,” he said. “The girls played hard and kept their heads up all the way until the end against a good team.”

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