For the first time sine the Ohio High School Athletic Association went to home sectional tournament games, the St. Paul softball team was able to host — and ultimately cruise to a 14-1 win over Mansfield Christian to advance to a 5 p.m. sectional title game on Thursday at Monroeville.
The Flyers (7-14) lost to the Eagles (18-3) by scores of 6-1 and 6-0 on April 8-9.
On Monday, Amelia Rospert pitched five dominant innings. The freshman set the tone early by retiring six of the first seven Flames batters and finished the game with four strikeouts, two hits, and allowed one earned run in getting the win.
The Flyers batters had no problem following Rospert’s lead with a stellar offensive performance of their own.
Olivia Englert got things moving in a hurry when she stepped into a pitch for a liner into the gap for a double — she then stole third base as well as home thanks to a wild pitch to get the Lady Flyers off to the much needed fast start that coach Bob Wilhelm had hoped for.
The runs didn’t stop with Englert in St. Paul’s first frame. Kennedy Stang scored on a Marlaina Sowers single and Mansfield Christian throwing error and Sammy Lippert nailed a shot for double that plated Rospert, Karlie Rudolph and Elyssa Schaffer.
With Rospert’s performance on the mound, the five-run first inning was plenty enough run support to garner the win for the Lady Flyers.
Kennedy Stang drew a pair of walks and went 1 for 2 with three RBIs and scored twice, Englert was 2 for 3 with a walk and crossed home plate three times and Presley Stang had the play of the day when she legged out a triple to lead the bottom of the fourth inning off to provide the fuel for St. Paul’s seven run explosion — Presley ended her day 1 for 3 with a walk, one RBI and a run scored.
"This is what we have been waiting for all year long," Wilhelm said. "We haven't had a game without any errors all season, and we were able to get that done here. I think that is what fueled today. A lot of times that is how it happens when you have a good day in the field — the confidence carries over when you are at bat.
“With a young team like we have we have sometimes let the mistakes we make in the field carry over to our at bats,” he added. “With Amelia back and very close to 100 percent, it gives me some more options with the pitchers and gives Marlaina a chance to rest. After missing most of the season, Amelia has worked hard to get back to where she is and has gotten better as she has played more. Hopefully this is the type of game we can expect to get from here on out.”
The fact that St. Paul was getting the opportunity to host their first sectional game was something that Wilhelm was happy to talk about after the lopsided victory.
“I think that we may have gotten a little extra momentum getting to actually host a tournament game,” he said. “That is something that we haven’t had the chance to experience before and it feels good to get a win our first one.”
St. Paul faces South Central today and Wednesday before heading to Monroeville on Thursday. The Flyers will finally call it a week on Friday when they play a make-up game with Mapleton.
M. Christian 000 01 — 1 2 5
St. Paul 520 7x — 14 10 0
WP: Rospert; LP: Steensland
2B: (SP) Englert, Sammy Lippert; 3B: (MC) Audrey Martin; (SP) P. Stang