BATH TOWNSHIP — Some might call it improbable, but for Wapakoneta it’s just business as usual.
After falling behind 7-0 in the second inning, the Redskins softball team came back to beat Celina 11-8 to win a Division II sectional championship at Bath on Wednesday to advance to next week’s district.
It was far from the first time this season Wapakoneta has won a game by coming from behind.
“We’re actually used to being down,” Wapakoneta coach Bill Sammons said.
“It’s like we need two innings under our belt to play the kind of ball we know how to play. I think it’s one of the biggest comebacks for us in the postseason in history. I’m very proud of our girls not giving up.”
Pitcher Renee Lovett, who got a complete-game win, said, “We’ve been down in a lot of games. We have innings where we don’t do anything and then we finally come back and we get that drive and we say, ‘Let’s go, this is it,’ and we refuse to lose.
“It’s easier said than done, but we’ve done it a tremendous number of times. We just kept coming back, coming back and coming back,” she said.
“We tell ourselves to pick ourselves up, we’re not going down without a fight. We’ll fight you all the way through and we did.”
Wapakoneta (20-8) will play Maumee at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the Miller City Division II district tournament.
Celina (19-4), with eight starters back from a 2012 district runner-up team, had hopes of going deep into the tournament this season.
But after a six-run second inning — helped along by three Wapakoneta errors — gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead, it all started to come apart.
Wapakoneta answered with a six-run third inning in which Celina committed three errors of its own, to make it a 7-6 game. The Redskins tied it at 7-7 in the fourth inning. Celina took an 8-7 lead in the fifth and Wapakoneta came back with a run in the bottom of that inning to tie the game 8-8.
The Redskins took control of the game with a three-run sixth inning. Alexis Schwartz’s double scored pinch-runner Elizabeth Martin with the go-ahead run. Martin was running for Stacy Miller, whose one-out single started the rally.
Carli Sammons added a run-scoring single and Ashlie Cox’s single brought in the final run.
“I think defensively we did not come out confidently from the first inning. Our bats were here but they slowly crept back in,” Celina coach Nicole Driggs said.
“Our offense was very confident but as they started creeping back in it went to sleep, and we got tense and nervous and each girl tried to take it on themselves to get that extra hit.
“At this stage you can’t have mistakes and it has to be a team effort. You have to bring it. It wasn’t our day. It wasn’t our team showing up. It’s unfortunate,” she said.
Cox was 3 for 3 and walked twice for Wapakoneta. Katie Sawmilller, Carli Sammons, Miller and Schwartz all had two hits. For Celina, Cassidy Freeman had three hits and Katie Kerr and Callie Vogel had two hits.
Celina won this season’s regular-season game against Wapakoneta 5-4. A year ago, the Bulldogs knocked the Redskins out of the tournament by a 1-0 score in eight innings in the sectional championship.
“In the last four years we have beaten them one time besides tonight. We were 1-8 in that time against those guys,” Sammons said.
“It’s always a struggle with those guys,” he said.