BATH TOWNSHIP – Wapakoneta believed. Maybe Bath believed just a little more.
The Wildkittens’ 4-3 win over Wapakoneta in a Division II sectional final on Friday gave them their first sectional championship since 2015. But it didn’t come nearly as easily as a 10-0 regular-season win over the Redskins two weeks ago.
This time Wapakoneta jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning and thought it could have scored more runs before a controversial double play ended that half inning. It wasn’t until Bath scored four runs in the bottom of the third inning that the Wildkittens turned the game in their direction.
And even then, Wapakoneta cut the lead to 4-3 with a run in the top of the fifth inning.
“I think it (the regular season game) was an off night for them. We talked about that a lot leading into this game that we were going to see a good Wapak team. I’m just glad we were able to battle after that first inning and play our game from there on out,” Bath coach Hannah Slavin said.
Wapakoneta coach Bill Sammons said, “These girls came out with a chip on their shoulders today and wanted to show that we can play with the best in the league.
“With 10-0, you can roll over and say, ‘What’s going to happen in this game?’ But they didn’t do that, they came out fighting,” he said.
Wapakoneta (10-10) started the game with a double by Alex Daum and the next batter, Allie Wilson, singled to score her. After Maddi Doseck singled and Corrin Wilder also singled to make it 2-0, Alyssa Camper hit a low line drive to the right side of the infield.
Wapakoneta thought it hit the ground before it hit Bath second baseman Tori Dackin’s glove, which would have brought in another run. Instead it became an inning-ending double play.
“It was unfortunate that our momentum got stopped in the first inning,” Sammons said. “It took us a couple of innings to get back going but I’m not taking anything away from Bath. They beat us at our best game.”
Bath (16-5) created some momentum of its own, offensively and with pitcher Kaylee Grant.
After getting only one hit in the first two innings, four of the first five Bath hitters in the third inning got hits and the other one put down a sacrifice bunt.
Ruby Bolon started it with a single to left field. After Dackin’s sacrifice bunt, Chandler Clark ripped a triple down the left field line to score the Wildkittens’ first run. Riley Iiames bunted for a hit and Kali Armstrong doubled to put Bath up 3-2. Emily Rocca’s single made it 4-2.
“Ruby got that great hit. Tori laid down a fantastic bunt to move her over and then when Chandler hit the ball in the gap that kind of got things going. We’re such a united team that when we do things back to back it kind of motivates us and it snowballs positively,” Slavin said.
Grant allowed only two hits in the last six innings after Wapakoneta got four of them in the first inning.
“After the first inning she started using her change-up more. She only used it once in the first inning but after that she used it a lot more. I think she ended up throwing it to almost every batter after that and she did a really good job of keeping them off balance from that point on,” Slavin said.
Bath will play Wauseon at 5 p.m., next Thursday in a district semifinal at UNOH. Wauseon defeated Defiance 12-7 on Friday.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.