Braves earn come-from-behind victory in first game but lose run-rule in second game of doubleheader.
SPRINGFIELD — Fresh off of a run to the regional finals, Shawnee looked like a contender again in its season opener against Miamisburg… for a few hours.
Shawnee came back from a one-run deficit and beat the Vikings 6-4 in the first game of a spring break Monday afternoon doubleheader. But the Braves looked less than mediocre in a 14-1 loss in five innings in game two.
The Braves tallied 14 hits in the first game to help sophomore Mary Britton earn a victory in her first career start in the circle. Britton gave up 11 hits and three earned runs in the game along with two strikeouts.
But Miamisburg shellacked Shawnee pitcher Grace Miller for six hits and seven runs in the first inning of the second game en-route to a run-rule victory. The onslaught started after a fielding error with two outs.
“That wasn’t our best effort,” Shawnee head coach Chris Roberts said after the doubleheader. “In fact I told the girls I think we didn’t play well the whole day. I’m happy with the split to be honest.”
Fielding errors hurt the Braves all throughout the day. They had three errors in the first game and had trouble fielding fly balls in sunny and windy conditions.
Miamisburg also ripped several ground balls past Shawnee infielders during the day. Leadoff hitter McKenna Schwartz was 9-for-9 in the doubleheader and scored three runs.
“We could not get her out,” Roberts said. “We tried everything, but she put it where we weren’t. She was very good… The top of their lineup is very fast.”
Shawnee is trying to rebuild after the graduation of four-year pitcher Emily McKillip. McKillip was first team All-State last season with a 1.12 ERA and 240 strikeouts. She also led Shawnee with a .530 batting average and 40 RBI’s. The Braves also lose Morgan Loveless (.452 batting average, 16 RBI’s) and Morgan Spitzer (.415, 20) from last year’s team.
But plenty of offense is back. Shortstop Aliya Saunders, third baseman Karlee Sine and first baseman Lauren Linn return after batting .425 or better last season. Miller’s also a threat on offense. She had a .385 average and a .451 on-base percentage last year.
“I don’t think today’s indicative of how good we are,” Roberts said. “We’ve got a lot back and I think we can make a run again this year.”
Aside from its errors, Shawnee looked in midseason form against the Vikings in the first game. Miamisburg went 13-11 last year and returns all but two of its varsity players.
Miamisburg scored two runs in the sixth inning to take a 3-2 lead, but the Braves answered quickly. Sine started the sixth with a single to left field, and Abby Tuttle followed with a single to right on a hard ground ball. Claudia Spitzer then slammed a fly ball over the center field fence to score the go-ahead runs. Miller finished Shawnee’s scoring in the sixth with an RBI-double to right field.
Miller and Spitzer went 3-for-3 in the first game with four combined RBI’s. Saunders went 2-for-4 with one RBI.
Britton routinely worked herself out of jams in the first game, including in the seventh inning.
Emily McKepple hit a double to right field off Britton that scored a run for the Vikings with one out in the seventh. But the Vikings’ last two batters hit a fly out and a ground out to end the game and strand two runners on base.
“I thought we had some real timely hitting,” Roberts said. “Claudia really brought us back with that three-run homer. We had good pitching. I thought Mary Britton did a very good job for her first start. She kept us in the game and allowed us to come back. Really if you’re looking for positives for your opening day game, that’s a good thing. A good comeback win says a lot.”
Miamisburg started the second game with two hits, but Miller forced two flyouts and looked to be on the verge of getting out of her first inning of the season unscathed.
Miamisburg’s Ashley Haas hit a fly ball to right field with three runners on base on the next at-bat. Shawnee’s Ashley Resnicky was positioned to make the catch, but dropped the ball off the top of her glove. Three runs scored on the play, and the Vikings scored four more before the third out.
Shawnee’s bats went cold in the second game as well. Miller and Taylor Yontz were the only players to get a hit in game two.
“If we catch that fly ball which we should have caught, it’s 0-0 instead of 7-0,” Roberts said. “It was a big hole to come out of in that first inning… When you expect to give up none and you give up seven, it’s hard. I think kids have a tendency to not give up, but get a little frustrated. We gave up runs in the second inning two, and it kind of just went downhill from there.”
The Braves will try to prevent the loss from turning into a losing streak on Wednesday when they travel to Beavercreek. The Beavers lost 12-2 on Monday night to Kenton Ridge in their season opener.
“We’re going to get back to work in practice tomorrow,” Roberts said. “We’re going to work on defense and try to fix our (fielding) mistakes.”
Miamisburg hosts Chaminade Julienne on Tuesday night.
TBSN Audio Extra: Listen to our postgame interview with Chris Roberts.