XENIA — The host Xenia Buccaneers softball team fell behind upstart West Carrollton early on, exploded for a six-run third inning to grab the lead, then held on as the visiting Pirates’ upset bid fell short in the seventh, to claim a 7-6 Xenia win, Tuesday April 25 at Xenia High.
“The GWOC American South will come down to next Monday and Wednesday’s games against Fairborn,” Xenia coach John Miner said, moments after watching his daughter, Sydney Smith, strikeout the last three Pirates batters to win Tuesday’s game.
West Carrollton made Xenia earn this win.
The Pirates (3-16, 2-9 GWOC American South) capitalized on a pair of Xenia errors, and hits by Alyssa Davies, Madison Mills and Riley Oda, to score lead-off hitter Makayla Woody, Davies and Mills with runs in the third inning.
Xenia (12-8, 6-3) responded with six hits in its half of the third, and Kylee West, Morgan Huffman, Smith, Ella Johnson, Sage Turner and Kerstin Norris each scored to give the Buccaneers a 6-3 lead.
The Bucs tacked on what proved to be the winning run in the fourth inning. Huffman got on base on a fielder’s choice play, then raced home on Smith’s double into center field. For the day, Smith went 3-for-3 at the plate with two doubles, two stolen bases, an RBI and a run scored.
West Carrollton chipped away at the Xenia lead, scoring Mills with a run in the fifth, then bringing Woody and Mackenzie Bush home with scores in the sixth, to pull within one run of the Buccaneers. That chased Xenia starter Bailey Oliver after 5 2/3 innings of solid work, and brought Smith to the mound.
The Pirates got their first two batters on base in the top of the seventh. Peyton Winand got on first, then speedy Nicole Vandervort came in to pinch-run for her. Felicia Smith then drew a walk to put the potential go-ahead run on first.
Xenia’s Smith then managed to strikeout the next three Pirates batters to end the game.
“I haven’t had my entire team healthy yet, this season,” West Carrollton coach Doug Hatcher said. “But these last two games, we’ve started to get players in the positions we thought they could play, and we’re playing really well. … We’re starting to come around. We still need to get some more timely hits, but we’re playing very well right now.”
Moments after speaking with his team, Miner just smiled and gave a shrug.
“A close win is better than a blowout, no matter what side of the ball you’re on. I’m really happy. The kids came in and got the job done when they had to,” Miner said. “The games with Fairborn next week will determine the division champion.”
According to the gwocsports.com website, Fairborn (9-8 overall, 6-2 in the GWOC American South) still has a make-up game to play against winless Trotwood-Madison. Xenia, 12-8 overall, has a 6-3 division record with just the two games next week with Fairborn left in the division.
Xenia, which set a school record with the team’s 12th win in a season with Tuesday’s win, still has non-divisional games at Piqua (April 27), then home with Vandalia Butler and New Carlisle Tecumseh on April 28-29, this week before the home-and-home battles with Fairborn.
The two Greene County foes will meet up Monday May 1 on the Wright State University softball diamond for the first Skyhawks-Bucs meeting. Xenia will then host Fairborn on Wednesday May 3.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.