The Fairfield Lady Lions (20-4) are heading back to the regional semi finals after defeating Paint Valley Monday night with a final score of 2-0.
The Lady Lions were going up against the Paint Valley Beartcats in Monday evening and their pitcher Mikayla Newland who has a full ride scholarship to Akron. Fairfield had squared off against Paint Valley earlier in the regular season this year and won that game with a final of 2-0 as well.
As the game started, it was clear that it would be a pitcher’s duel with freshman Lady Lion Kaiti White giving her best stuff to the Bearcat hitters.
The third inning was the big inning for the Lady Lions in their previous tournament win and Monday night turned out to be the same. In the inning, Grace Larrick laid down a bunt and was safe at first base and the throw went wide of the base, allowing Larrick to get to second base. The next batter, Carli Reiber, poked a single right over the top of the shortstop’s head, which advanced the speedy Larrick to third base. White came up to the plate next, looking to help her own cause and get her team on the board. White hit a screamer right down the third base line and out of the reach of the fielder scoring Larrick with ease. Reiber made it to second and then the ball went through the legs of the left fielder and Coach Mark Dettwiller waved Reiber around third base and into homeplate for the second run of the inning.
After that, the Lady Lions were able to scratch together a couple more hits but the two runs were all they needed as White was able to keep the door shut through the seventh inning and the Fairfield softball team went home with a 2-0 win, another district title and a trip to the regional semi finals game.
“I wanna start off by saying that I think that Mikayla Newland [of Paint Valley] is by far the best pitcher in the southeast district,” said Lady Lions Head Coach Mark Dettwiller after the win. “That kid is phenomenal. She already has a full-ride to Akron and I think she’ll do well there.
“Our game plan all week, since we found out we were going to play Paint Valley, was to get the ball in play and put the pressure on their defense and use our speed on the base paths and see if we could make them make mistakes. And they did make a couple mistakes and we capitalized on them and that was the difference in the ball game. Another goal was to keep our strikeouts at 10 and we had eight so we were real happy with that. We made in-game adjustments really well today.
“We’re just really proud to be representing the southeast district up in Pickerington and we’re just happy to be able to make it back up there.”
The Fairfield Lady Lions will now face Danville in the regional semi finals on Thursday, May 26 at Pickerington High School with a 5 p.m. start time. Danville is 28-1 on the year and is the Coaches Poll no. 1 team in division IV.
Reach Robert Stegbauer at 937-393-3456 ext. 1679 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.