RICHMOND - The three-peat is complete for Indian Creek.
Big Red, the No. 2 seed, led 7-5 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, but was unable to seal the deal as the Redskins stormed back to tie the score. Then with one out, Alexis Monroe scored on an error to complete the comeback as the Indian Creek softball team defeated Big Red, 8-7, Monday evening in an Ohio Division II Eastern District sectional final at Jefferson Lake State Park.
The victory gave the top-seeded Redskins their third straight sectional title.
"What a game," Indian Creek (16-2) Indian Creek head coach Angela Penner said. "Our girls never quit. They are Creek tough. I am so proud of them."
The loss brought Big Red's magical season to a heartbreaking conclusion.
"My hat is off to them," second-year Big Red (21-8) head coach Gus DiMarzio said. "They battled the whole game. They are well coached. They have good kids. They fought, just like our kids did.
Indian Creek 8, Big Red 7
Big Red 013 101 1 - 7 10 3
Indian Creek 021 020 3 - 8 13 4
BIG RED (21-8): Stamps (LP, 3K, 1BB) and M. Barker; T. Barker 2S, RBI; Fields S, RBI; Banks S; M. Barker S, D, RBI; Petrisko S; Gentile RBI; Barz 2S, RBI; Taylor S, RBI.
INDIAN CREEK (16-2): Geanangel (WP, 9K, 1BB) and Orr; Sullivan S; Geanangel S, RBI; Davis 3S; Monroe 2S, HR, 4RBI; Webb 2S, 2RBI; Keras S; DeFallo 2S.
"Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. When you lose a one-run game, that is the coach's fault."
The bottom of the seventh started and ended with an error.
Mallorie Sullivan reached on an error. Then with one out, Bethany Davis singled to put two runners on base. Next, Alexis Monroe and Hannah Webb each belted run-scoring singles to tie the score at 7.
Finally, with Monroe on third base and Webb on second, Sydney Keras hit a groundball that was not fielded cleanly on the infield allowing Monroe to score the game-winning run.
In softball, the final out tends to be the toughest one to get.
"It was today," DiMarzio said.
Indian Creek will play in the district co-final at 5 p.m. Wednesday against Minerva (a 4-3 winner over Dover) at Bill Rice Field at River View High School. The winner of the game between the Lions and Redskins will advance to the Region 7 Semifinals at 5 p.m. May 28 at Pickerington Central High School.
Paige Geanangel picked up the win. She struck out nine while walking one.
Monroe recorded two base hits, a home run and four RBIs, Davis delivered three singles and Webb ended up with two singles and two RBIs.
"We put ourselves in some tough positions," Penner said. "We had a few errors and a few mental lapses that put us in a hole at times.
"Big Red battled back."
Hayley Stamps took the loss. She struck out three while issuing one free pass.
Mytia Barker recorded a single, a double and an RBI, Tenia Barker and Keasha Barz each contributed two singles and an RBI and Sierra Fields and Abby Taylor each tallied a single and an RBI.
Big Red hit the ball well throughout the game, but they left too many runners stranded on base, especially in scoring position.
"We had to leave 10 or 12 runners stranded with about eight of them in scoring position," DiMarzio said. "We did what we needed to do. We bunted.
"When we needed to make plays, we just didn't make them.
"It was just one of those days."
In a game of answers, Indian Creek had the final one.
After a scoreless first inning, Big Red plated a run in the second inning to take the early lead.
Mytia Barker doubled and, after a strikeout, Casey Gentile was hit by a pitch to give Big Red a pair of runners. Barz singled to score Barker.
Geanangel struck out the next two batters to prevent any further damage from being done.
The Redskins answered right back in the home half of the inning.
Davis started things off with a single, and Monroe followed by launching a two-run home run over the fence to give Indian Creek a 2-1 advantage.
After a walk, Stamps was able to get out of the inning with a double play and a groundout.
Big Red regained the lead by plating three runs in the third.
Tenia Barker ripped a single, Fields reached on an error and Na Banks singled to load the bases with no outs. Mytia Barker followed with a sacrifice fly scoring Tenia Barker tying the score at 2.
Next, Rhiannon Petrisko reached on an error scoring Fields giving Big Red a 3-2 advantage. Gentile plated another run with a groundout enabling Big Red to double up Indian Creek, 4-2.
Barz stepped to plate, and she was hit on the hand by a pitch, but she was not awarded first base because she swung at the pitch. Barz was unable to continue the at-bat, and Taylor Lane stepped in to finish the at-bat.
Geanangel uncorked a wild pitch, but catcher Abby Orr was able to retrieve the ball, and she tossed it to Geanangel, who tagged out Petrisko at the plate to end the inning and to keep the score 4-2.
The Redskins got a run back in the bottom half of the inning.
DeFallo singled to start things off and scored on a two-out single by Geanangel to cut Indian Creek's deficit to 4-3.
"We work together as a team," Monroe said.
Big Red bounced back to score a run in the fourth to regain a two-run advantage.
Barz, who returned to the game in the bottom of the third, led off the inning with a base hit, advanced on a one-out single by Taylor and scored on a base hit by Tenia Barker to give Big Red a 5-3 lead.
Geanangel once again limited the damage by striking out the next two batters.
Indian Creek tied the game with two runs in the fifth.
Sullivan singled and Davis reached on an error. Monroe plated Sullivan when she reached on a fielder's choice to make it 5-4. Next, Webb scored Davis on a sacrifice fly to tie the score at 5.
Big Red delivered a run in the sixth to regain the lead.
Carmie Biasi struck out to start the inning, but she ended up reaching when the pitch got away from Orr. Taylor reached on an error and, after a sacrifice bunt by Tenia Barker, Fields singled home Biasi enabling Big Red to regain the lead at 6-5.
Big Red added another run in the seventh.
Gentile started things off by getting hit for the second time in the game. Carlee Jenkins came into the game to run for her. A sacrifice bunt by Biasi advanced Jenkins, who scored on a groundout by Taylor making the score 7-5.
Dover defeated the Redskins in the district tournament in each of the last two seasons.
"Hopefully, the third time is a charm," Penner said.