MILLER CITY — Quite often, the outcome of a softball game comes down to which team can come through with timely hits.
That was exactly the case in Wednesday’s Division II district semifinal game between Wapakoneta and Maumee.
Maumee’s hitters came through when they needed to en route to a 3-2 victory over Wapakoneta.
With the victory, Maumee (18-6) with face Bath (26-1) in Saturday’s district final game at 4 p.m. at Miller City.
In Wednesday’s game, Maumee recorded eight base hits off Wapakoneta pitcher Renee Lovett. The junior right-hander struck out five and walked one.
Wapakoneta (20-10) also had success at the plate. The Redskins got seven hits against Maumee pitcher Sami Fowls. Fowls struck out seven, walked five and hit a batter.
However, Wapakoneta missed several opportunities as it left nine base runners stranded. The Redskins left the bases loaded in both the first and fifth innings.
“Two base hits and this game is totally different,” Wapakoneta coach Bill Sammons said. “We had bases loaded twice; one time with no outs. Is it frustrating? …Yes. We played a great team, a great pitcher. She really kept us off-balance with her screwball and her curve. What else can you do?
“They did what they had to do. We were in the game. When you get to this level, it’s one or two runs, one or two hits and that’s it. We just happened to be on the short end of the stick. I really can’t fault our girls. They’ve really worked hard and battled.”
Wapakoneta committed four errors; two in the fifth inning, when Maumee scored two runs to take a 3-1 lead.
“One error, here and there. …You won’t go much farther in the tournament if you don’t make those easy plays,” Sammons said. “It just so happened that we did not make those plays.
“Those errors did hurt. But, we could have had a stinking hit in the first inning with bases loaded. And we could have had another base hit when the bases were loaded again. There were several opportunities during this game when we could have established a nice tone, but we couldn’t get the momentum on our side for some reason.”
Maumee scored in the home half of the first. Lead-off hitter Evan Kachenmeister hit Lovett’s second pitch to left for a single. A couple batters later, Kendall Murphy hit a grounder to third base that plated a run.
Wapakoneta scored its first run in the fifth. With bases loaded, Fowls walked Kristi Bailey to bring in a run. However, the Redskins went on to leave the bases loaded.
Maumee scored the two runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the two-run lead.
In the seventh, Lovett led off with a single, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Ashlie Cox, the No. 4 hitter, brought Lovett home with a grounder to the right side of the infield.
Lovett led Wapakoneta at the plate, going 3 of 4, while Carli Sammons went 2 for 4 for the Redskins.
“That was a heck of a team that we just played,” Maumee coach Shawn Watson said. “Sami’s curveball wasn’t working because it got into that wind and it just wouldn’t allow it to break.
“The key for us was when we got out of the first inning with bases loaded. Sami pitched us out of it. Our defense made some key plays.”
Watson praised Lovett on her pitching performance as well.
“She (Lovett) pitched a great game. She controlled us. It wasn’t more that we didn’t hit, but she held us under control. Then we started doing the things we needed to do. We preach groundball, line drive, especially in this wind. You (want to) put it on the ground and get it through a hole,” Watson said.