BELLBROOK — A couple short rain delays and a feisty Franklin opponent were no match for the Bellbrook Golden Eagles softball team on Senior Day, May 4, at Bellbrook High.
Bellbrook broke a close game open with four runs in the fifth inning for a 4-0 shutout win.
Rain delayed the start of the game by about a half hour, then the teams cleared the field on two other occasions when brief heavy downpours doused the field, but the Golden Eagles’ intensity was maintained.
To match the Senior Day occasion, senior Savannah Geldbaugh smacked a double into center field to start the fifth inning. She then advanced to third base on freshman Abbie Hess’s soft single into left center. Sophomore Izzy Clemens then put down the bunt of the day on a squeeze play that scored Geldbaugh, who had to slide wide and reach under the Franklin catcher’s glove to tap home plate for the score.
Emily Hughes then reached base on a fielder’s choice play that threw out Hess at third for the first Bellbrook out of the inning. Brooke Tincher then moved Clemens and Hughes along with a sacrifice bunt.
Then, with Clemens on third and Hughes perched on second, sophomore Kaley Clark launched a home run to almost straight away center field to give Bellbrook the 4-0 lead. Considered one of the county’s top hitters for average this season, (.667 average prior to Friday’s contest) Clark was a perfect 3-for-3 against Franklin with two singles and the home run.
Franklin’s Lacey Wilch reached base on an infield single, for the Wildcat’s second hit of the game, but Bellbrook freshman lefthander Randi Holder retired the next two batters to end the game.
Holder was credited with the complete-game two-hit win.
“We played ball,” said Bellbrook coach Angela Cook. “I mean, we made outstanding plays in the outfield, and our girls just stepped up. They executed at the plate when we needed them to, Kaley’s home run sure helped, … the squeeze bunt … you can’t ask for a better game than that. And we did not make a single error! I’m very very proud of them.”
Cook wanted to make sure to give credit to her assistant coaches, Heather Hebrank and Steve Grech. “We’re all in this together, and they’re a big reason for this team’s success,” she said.
In Franklin coach Jim Miller’s words, his Wildcats didn’t ‘play ball.’
“We just didn’t play well. I mean, if you don’t hit, you don’t win,” he said. “The weather wasn’t an excuse. I’d never say that. But when you show up and you’re not ready to play, that’s what happens.”
The game was the regular season finale for the Golden Eagles, who wind up with a 6-10 overall record, 4-8 and in fifth place in the Southwestern Buckeye League’s Southwestern division. After a first-round bye, seventh seeded Bellbrook will open up the Division II sectional tournament at home at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 10 against either No.8-seed Carroll or No. 10 Stivers, who play each other on May 8.
Franklin has a doubleheader on Saturday, May 5 at Wilmington High School to worry about before it can think about the postseason. The Wildcats (9-13, 6-6 SWBL Southwestern) take on Wilmington for an 11 a.m. first game. They then will play Williamsburg in the second game at 1 p.m. Franklin is the No. 6 seed in the D-II tournament. They’ll open sectional play at 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 8 at Franklin Community Park against No. 9-seeded Chaminade Julienne.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.