By Marc Tobias
LIMA -- When it comes to tournament play there's simply one goal, and it's to survive and move on.
That's exactly what the Celina softball team did with its 2-0 sectional championship win over Kenton on Monday at Lima Bath High School.
Kenton came into the contest against Celina (22-2) with an overall record of 8-10 and having already lost to the Bulldogs 7-0 during the regular season.
The Lady Bulldogs weren't their sharpest, as a couple of base-running errors may have prevented the 'Dogs from building a bigger lead. Nonetheless, Celina moves on to face the winner of Wednesday's Lima Bath vs. St. Marys winner next Tuesday in the district semifinal, once again at Bath High School.
"Winning the sectional was a goal we had, we wanted to have a real nice tourney run and you have to get by the first round to be able to do that, and sometimes the first round could be the hardest game," said Celina coach John Hendricks. "We had a real tough weekend against a tough opponent and I think we came out and played flat. I didn't think we were ready to play tonight and I think we were real lucky to come out of here with a 2-0 win." Kinsey Schumann was solid on the mound for the 'Dogs, and she picked up a complete-game shutout by striking out eight Bath batters while allowing just three hits and one walk.
"Kinsey did a nice job, I don't think she had her best stuff, but we've been saying that all year even when she doesn't have her best stuff and she still gives the other team fits," Hendricks said. "That was the case tonight, and she still walks out of here with her seventh shutout of the season."
Ashley Baldwin picked up the loss for Kenton despite pitching well. Baldwin scattered seven hits while striking out four and walking one Celina batter.
"We thought they might come in here thinking they beat us 7-0 already and that it would be an easy win," said Kenton coach Amber Shaffer. "I'm very pleased with our team. On the way over we were mentally focused and ready to play. We were coming in here with high hopes that we could pull something off, and I'm pleased with the way the girls played. There's nothing else we could have done except get a couple more hits and a couple more people on base, but it was a good game."
Celina got its first run of the game when Megan Harner led off the bottom of the second with a single to leftfield.Harner was able to advance to third when Kenton third basemen Amber McElroy committed a throwing error to first base. Jenna Schleucher then drove home Harner with a groundball to the left side of the diamond to put the 'Dogs up 1-0.
Harner had the best day at the plate for Celina, as she went 2-for-3 with a run scored and she registered the games only extra-base hit with a double in the sixth inning.
The 'Dogs tacked on a second run in the bottom of the third when Allison Hoying led off with a single to leftfield.
Kelli Williams singled to move Hoying to third and then a Shay Adams single brought home Hoying for a two-run lead.
Both Hoying and Williams finished the game by going 2-for-3 from the plate.
Jamie Siefker then easily had the defensive play of the game to close out the contest.
Kenton had just brought the tying run to the plate when McElroy dug into the batter's box with one out in the top of the seventh inning.
McElroy then hit a shot to rightfield, but Siefker came charging in hard to make the diving catch for the first out. Siefker then quickly bounced on her feet and fired the ball to first base to double up Kenton's lead runner Brooke Osborn for the game-ending doubleplay.
"We make a nice play at the end of the game, and Jamie was the most upbeat person in the dugout tonight," Hendricks said. "Every time we met between innings she was doing everything she could to get this team up and she wants to win and continue to play, and we just have to make sure we have the whole team wanting to do that."
Celina returns to action today in a Western Buckeye League battle at St. Marys.