BEAVERCREEK — Beavercreek has been preparing for tournament play all season.
A difficult schedule early in the season hardened the team while the second half focus was on gaining consistency and focus.
Facing another Greene County team in Wednesday’s Division I sectional tournament opener, the results of that work paid off quickly.
Beavercreek, the fifth-seed, piled up runs in each of its four innings at the plate and cruised to a 16-1 run-rule victory at home over No. 12 Xenia.
“We didn’t necessarily alter how we prepared for the game, warmed up or got ready in general dependent on who we were playing today,” head coach Megan Rawlins said. “We’ve stayed consistent and have had the same approach coming into each game and that was one the definite highlights of tonight.”
Beavercreek only needed to see two pitches to score what turned out to be enough runs to get the win.
Jayden O’Neal lead off the bottom of the first with a bunt single down the first base line, and on the next pitch Haley Ferguson blasted a ball over the fence just to the right of dead center field for a 2-0 lead in less than a minutes time.
Up 4-0 in the second, Xenia got its only run when Tori McPherson timed up a pitch from Ferguson and nearly hit one out in right center as she settled for a triple. She scored on Dakota Wagner’s ground ball to first in the ensuing at-bat.
Xenia only got one other baserunner the remainder of the game on a leadoff single from Kynnydy Lewis in the fourth.
Beavercreek got the run back and added on more by loading the bases in the bottom of the second. Kyleigh Bartlett showed bunt, but pulled back and ripped a line drive into the left field corner to clear the bases to start a five-run frame.
They would get four more in the third and three during the fourth to finish off the scoring.
“We just came in ready to go playing our game,” Rawlins said. “Everything was just consistent and everyone had great at-bats.”
Ferguson got the complete game win and remains in position to get a second consecutive pitching triple crown in the GWOC as the league leader in ERA (0.91) and strikeouts (199) and tied for wins (15).
Xenia finishes a tough season with a 7-18 record. Lewis and McPherson led a group of four seniors and both ended their careers in the top-10 of the MVL in batting this season.
“They’ve been the heart and soul of our program the last four years,” Xenia head coach John Miner said of his four seniors, with Gracee Cassidy and Megan Bradley being the two others. “They’ve been leaving a lot with the younger players, not just on the field, but how to maintain yourself off of it.
“Life values, how to carry yourself not just as a softball player but as a human being too. That’s what we coach at Xenia softball, that sometimes life is about more than just what the scoreboard says. It’s still a sad day seeing them play their last game, but also a proud day to see these young ladies go on in life to bigger and better things.”
Beavercreek advances to the district semifinals on Monday. The next test awaits there as the opponent is No. 1-seed Lebanon, which is all that separates the team from a third straight district final appearance.
“We played last year and I think it’s going to be a really good match up that I’m excited for,” Rawlins said “I think that we’ve had a really strong schedule that’s prepared us for the type of game that Lebanon plays, so I feel like our team is prepared.”
Preparing is what Beavercreek has done all season.
Beavercreek leads 9-1 after two innings. Haley Ferguson homered in the first for Creek and Kyleigh Bartlett cleared the bases on this double in the second. Tori McPherson has Xenia’s run after tripling in their half of the second. pic.twitter.com/cB3RuZeqgc
— Steven Wright (@Steven_Wright_) May 10, 2023
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.