MILLER CITY — Leipsic and Miller City were fighting for a chance to secure to stay atop the Putnam County League softball race during a matchup Saturday.
The visiting Vikings got the job done with a 13-1 six-inning victory.
The Vikings (9-14, 5-1 PCL) secured at least a PCL title tie with the victory.
“We had a slow start to the season with having to replace so many girls from last year. We needed to work out some positions,” Leipsic head coach Shane Hermiller said. “For example, we have needed to use two catchers throughout the season to get the right girl in there all the time. We have used two pitchers regularly to make sure we have the right one on the mound. The senior we have, Bailee Sickmiller, showed her leadership by telling me that we were better with her at shortstop. That was great to see for this team.”
Leipsic put five on the board in the top of the first frame against lefty starter Kylie Berner and reliever Selena Saldana. Ally Kirkendall led off with a hit and after a steal, scored on a single by Jala Hazelton. She scored after singles by Kacey Dulle and Bailee Sickmiller. An out later, Hannah Mortimer doubled to score Dulle and Sickmiller. Jocelyn Hermiller’s double plated Mortimer for a 5-0 lead.
“We made too many mistakes, mostly mental, in the early going. Leipsic hit the ball well, no doubt about it,” Miller City head coach Michael Oedy said. “With the way they hit the ball and with our mistakes, we made it hard on ourselves. We were not going to have success with the way we played and how well they hit.”
Miller City (5-9, 3-1 PCL) threatened in the home half but could not break through.
Leipsic put two more across in the second inning on an infield hit by Hazelton, an error on a ball hit by Dulle and run-scoring singles by Sickmiller and Mortimer for a 7-0 lead.
“About three weeks ago, we started to play some good ball. We have no more PCL games left,” Coach Hermiller said. “We started off well today and we kept adding to it. Like I said, we had to work though so many new girls in the lineup, and we had to work through who we were going to put in the lineup every day. That took some time to figure out.”
The Vikings made it 8-0 in the fourth on a leadoff single by Dulle, an out by Sickmiller and an RBI by Mortimer.
Leipsic tacked on a ninth run in the top of the fifth on a leadoff single by Maddie Walther and a triple to right by Liz Schecklehoff.
Leipsic put four home in the sixth to cause the run-rule to be in play. Sickmiller via an error to start it off and Mortimer was safe on an error. Sickmiller and Mortimer then scored on a triple to right by Hermiller followed by a home run to straightaway center from Walther.
“We have two more PCL games left to play. We still have a shot to earn a share of the title,” Miller City coach Michael Odey said. “We are going to go for it. We lost a game to Crestview 2-0 recently and that was the best game we played this year. We had a shot to beat them but we lost it late. Our girls continue to work hard.”
Miller City got its lone run in the sixth. Maddie Oho led off with a hit. Nicole Ellerbrock was safe on an error. Oho scored on a Saldana grounder. The game then ended on a double play.
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