Shawnee earned the school’s first district title in a 12-0 win over Valley View.
WEST CARROLLTON — Valley View discovered quickly that Shawnee senior ace Emily McKillip was as good as billed, and so were her teammates’ bats.
McKillip allowed one hit and struck out 10 as Shawnee made quick work of Valley View in a 12-0 win on Saturday morning at West Carrollton High School. The Braves scored eight runs in the first inning and never looked back.
Shawnee earned a district championship with the win. The Braves advance to the regionals will face Jonathan Alder on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Mason.
“It’s awesome,” senior center fielder Morgan Loveless said after the game. “It really is the greatest feeling to know that you worked super hard. Then to get this far, it’s awesome.”
The game was decided in the first inning. McKillip struck out the first three batters of the game, and Shawnee’s hitters clobbered Valley View pitcher Ashley Ward in the bottom of the first. Shawnee then scored eight runs on eight hits in the bottom of the first.
“I think that set the tone for the whole game,” Shawnee head coach Chris Roberts said of McKillip’s first three strikeouts. “After that, we just kind of rolled. We rolled offensively and defensively, obviously Emily dealt all day long. It was a great game for us.”
Freshman shortstop Aliya Saunders went 3-for-3 in the game and scored three runs. McKillip, Lauren Linn, and Karlee Sine all went 2-for-3 for the Braves.
Shawnee (25-3) had 12 hits and two walks in four innings.
“We just had to keep our heads in the game and believe in ourselves and have confidence at the plate,” Saunders said.
The offensive show was far different from the Braves’ 2-0 sectional final win over Kenton Ridge on Tuesday. Shawnee had seven hits in that game and didn’t score until the sixth inning.
“We’ve seen great pitching all year long, and we wanted to be aggressive coming into the game,” Roberts said. “We were very aggressive at the plate, and we drove the ball well. We were aggressive on the base paths too. It was a fun game.”
Loveless said she thinks the competition the Braves faced in the CBC prepared them for Valley View.
“I think we’ve played a lot of good competition throughout the whole season that’s really prepared us for this level,” Loveless said. “I think every game we’ve worked harder to get us to this spot.”
Loveless hit a fly out to start the first inning, but the Braves came alive from there.
Lauren Linn doubled on Shawnee’s next at-bat, and McKillip followed with a double to left field that scored Linn. Aliya Saunders then singled to left field to score Taylor Yontz, who was put in the game as a courtesy runner for McKillip. Karlee Sine singled next, and Grace Miller then reached on an error.
Morgan Spitzer hit a single to left field next for Shawnee to score Saunders from third base. Ward struck out Kristie Dalton next, but followed by walking Taylor Priest with the bases loaded to give the Braves a 4-0 lead. Shawnee added on four more runs by the end of the inning, and the rout was on.
Shawnee scored three more runs in the second inning and one more in the third.
Valley View struggled to make contact against McKillip. Valley View’s only hit came in the third inning when KiLee Genslinger beat the throw to first on a soft bunt. Genslinger led the Southwestern Buckeye League this season with 43 stolen bases.
It was the fourth-straight shutout win for McKillip and the tenth shutout this season. McKillip hasn’t allowed a run the last 24 innings she’s pitched.
Linn, Spitzer, and Priest led Shawnee with 2 RBIs each. Sine and Miller scored two runs each in the game, and Loveless and Linn each scored once.
Shawnee advances to a regional semifinal game and faces another SWBL team in Franklin (16-7). The Wildcats beat Hamilton Ross 2-1 in a district final on Saturday at Mason High School. The Braves will play Franklin on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Mason.
“We’re going in relatively blind with our next opponent,” Roberts said. “We’re not sure what we’re going to get there, but I think we need to be ready for a quality pitcher, a great defense, and a strong hitting team. Once you reach that level of 16 teams, everybody’s going to be top-notch.”
If Shawnee beats Franklin, it will advance to play either Northwestern or Alder in a regional final game on Saturday. The Warriors play Alder in a regional semifinal on Thursday at Mason.
Valley View finished with a 15-12 record.