Friday, May 23rd, 2008
Bulldogs win district crown with two outs in the seventh
By Ryan Hines
DESHLER - The Celina softball team was one strike away from being ousted out of the postseason on Thursday, but the Bulldogs weren't ready to bail out quite yet.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh with two outs and no one on base with the number-nine hitter at the plate, Celina mounted a rally for the ages.
Three straight Celina singles in the bottom of the seventh inning propelled the Bulldogs to a 2-1 victory over Napoleon in the Division II district semifinal at Deshler.
"That was just heart out there that we showed," said Celina head coach Nicole Driggs about the Celina comeback in the seventh. "The team believed in the team and everyone believed in their teammates and just got the job done in a great softball game. It was go all-out or go home in the seventh inning and I'm just so proud of the girls for the way that they kept believing in themselves and their teammates."
Celina (21-3) advances to the regional semifinals at Clayton Northmont beginning on Thursday at 5 p.m. with the Bulldogs facing the winner of Germantown Valley View/Mt. Orab Western Brown, which play tonight.
Napoleon scored its lone run of the game on a bomb of a home run off the bat of Ashley Weaver in the sixth inning for a 1-0 Wildcats lead.
The 1-0 advantage looked safe as Celina went down in order 1-2-3 in the sixth inning and then the first two Bulldog batters were retired in the seventh inning.
However, Celina's nine-hole hitter Sara Dorsten was confident at the plate looking to start a Bulldogs rally.
"It definitely was a pressure situation, but I had players coming up to me giving me confidence and that helped me raise my confidence," said Dorsten. "I knew that I needed a hit to keep the game going and to be able to come through in that situation makes me feel really good to help my team win."
Dorsten was facing a two-strike count when she lined a single to left-centerfield. Audrey Harner then came up and, when she was facing a two-strike count, ripped a single to centerfield that actually tied the game at 1-1. Dorsten was headed for third on the Harner single but Napoleon's centerfielder bobbled the ball twice allowing Dorsten to race all the way home on the Wildcats error tying the score as Dorsten slid safely at the plate ahead of the throw.
"I could hear the team and the crowd behind me as I went home trying to score, I was just trying to concentrate on sliding into home plate to tie the score," said Dorsten.
"I knew that Sara was going to get a hit and I knew that I would get my chance to keep the game going too," said Harner. "It's just a great feeling to pull out a win like this, especially in the tournament."
While Napoleon was trying to make a play on Dorsten at the plate, the speedy Harner was aggressive on the basepaths as well, advancing to third base with Laura Homan coming to bat.
Homan became the third straight Celina batter to face a two-strike count in the seventh inning and she also became the third straight Bulldogs batter to get a base hit. Homan lined a single off the tip of the glove of the Napoleon second baseman and Harner trotted home with the game-winning run.
"It was such a pressure situation and I knew that I had to come through for my teammates," said Homan. "I had confidence and I just wanted to do whatever I could to help the team win. I was just so excited and relieved. An amazing feeling, I couldn't believe it."
Napoleon head coach Joe Meyer and the rest of the Wildcats seemed devastated with the defeat, the third straight time that they have been beaten in the district semifinals at Deshler.
"It's pretty devastating, we thought that we had them where we wanted them in the seventh inning with their seventh, eighth and ninth hitters up," said Meyer. "They hadn't done much of anything through the game, but credit them, that was three straight hits that they came through with. It just seems like these kids deserve more, but that's softball."
Homan's game-winning hit made her the winning pitcher on the mound as well, firing a complete game and allowing just four hits with 13 strikeouts. Homan struck out each Napoleon batter at least once.
"Their pitcher threw a great game and we didn't put much pressure on her," said Meyer. "If we would have gotten out of here with a 1-0 win, it probably would have been kind of a steal almost. It's just a cruel way to lose."