CELINA — Celina’s Maddy Luebke got the chance she wanted on two separate occasions.
And the Celina shortstop/pitcher delivered both times.
Luebke tied the game in the home ninth, then won it in the 11th to give Celina a 7-6 victory over Shawnee in 11 innings in the Division II sectional championship game Friday at Westview Park.
Luebke’s two-out RBI single up the middle brought home Emily Keith from second to give the Bulldogs’ the walk-off victory in the home 11th.
In the home ninth with two out, it was Luebke again who drilled an RBI double to center to bring home Harlee Harris from third to tie the game at 6.
“I go up there and think this is the moment you live for when you play softball,” Luebke said. “It’s a good feeling and I wanted it for my team. … It’s an amazing feeling.’’
Celina (13-6), the Western Buckeye League co-champion with Defiance, advances to the district semifinals against the Napoleon-Van Wert winner at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the University of Northwestern Ohio.
Shawnee stands 15-6.
“We have a history with them (over the last few years),” Celina coach Nicole Driggs said. “We’ve had a 15-inning game with them. We’ve had a 12-inning game and today’s 11-inning game. Our teams matchup really well and you never know what’s going to happen.’’
Celina won the regular-season matchup, 9-5, but this was a back-and-forth game through 11 innings.
“What a fight both teams had,” Driggs said.
Celina took advantage of four Shawnee errors in first three innings to grab a 4-0 after three.
“We dug a hole with a lot of errors early,” Shawnee coach Eric Truxall said. “But we battled back when we were down 4-0 to take the lead, but we didn’t make the plays when we needed to make them.’’
Shawnee came back with three in the fifth to get within 4-3.
The Indians scored two in the sixth to pull ahead 5-4. Celina then tied at 5 in the sixth and it was 5-5 after seven.
Keith picked up the victory in relief of Luebke for Celina.
Keith went seven innings and gave up three runs, two earned, on eight hits. She struck out four and walked one.
“Emily (Keith) has been our starter all year and M.J. (Luebke) has been our closer, but we thought tonight might be a good night to switch it,’’ Driggs said.
Abbey Ambroza went all 11 innings for Shawnee. She gave up seven runs, five earned, on 14 hits. She struck out seven and walked none.
Ambroza threw 133 pitches, 102 for strikes.
In the third, Celina’s first two hitters reached on Shawnee infield errors.
Luebke then had an RBI double to give Celina a 3-0 lead. Taylor Turner followed with an RBI double and it was 4-0.
Shawnee charged back in the fifth.
Emma Tippie and Shalon McNeal singled. Laken George’s RBI single brought Shawnee within 4-1.
Carmi Winegardener lined a two-run double down the right-field line and Shawnee crept within 4-3.
In the sixth, McNeal had an RBI single to tie the game at 4. Winegardner’s RBI single gave Shawnee a 5-4 lead in the sixth.
But this game had plenty of life left.
Celina’s Gracie Chilcoat led off the sixth with a solo home run over the center-field fence to tie the game at 6.
Then, came the ninth.
Shawnee’s Payton Modschiedler’s RBI single brought home courtesy-runner Olivia Musser from second to give Shawnee a 6-5 lead.
But with two outs in the home ninth, there was Luebke sending an RBI double to the fence in center to tie the game at 6.
“I was looking for a gap hit and keeping my hands through the zone,” Luebke said.
Added Truxall, “She’s (Luebke) always been a great hitter. You don’t want to see 25 (Luebke) come up when you know you have to stop them. But, unfortunately, we were in a position where we had to pitch to her.’’
Shawnee had 15 hits, while Celina had 14. But Shawnee committed five errors to Celina’s three.
For Celina, Luebke went 3 for 6 with two double and three RBI.
Keith went 2 for 6. Turner was 2 for 5 with a double.
Chilcoat went 3 for 5 with a double, a home run and two RBI.
For Shawnee, McNeal was 3 for 4. Winegardener went 2 for 6 with a double and three RBI.
Modschiedler was 2 for 5. Kayla Seitz was 4 for 6. Tippie was 2 for 3.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.