ELIDA — Lima Central Catholic has never won a district title in softball but the Thunderbirds took a step towards to achieving that after rallying to beat Columbus Grove, 7-3, in the Division IV district semifinal Tuesday night.
With the victory, LCC will face Wayne Trace, which beat North Baltimore 9-7, in the district final at Elida at 5 p.m. Friday night.
“This is great for LCC softball,” Thunderbird head coach Brett Roehm said. “I don’t know how many district semifinal games they have won but I know if we win a district title it will be the first time they would have won one so it means something to us now. Everyone of the kids played hard, but we battled and did what they needed to do.”
The Thunderbirds, who found themselves down 3-2 after four innings, plated five more runs in the fifth and sixth inning to secure the win.
LCC’s Jaylen Roehm continued to be a key factor in the Thunderbirds’ success, both on the mound and at the plate.
Roehm, who opened the game as the starting pitcher, got off to a shaky start, giving four hits and three runs in the first three frames, but settled into a groove the final four innings where she threw three perfect frames in the fourth, fifth and sixth inning and gave up one hit in the seventh.
For the game, Roehm struck out 11, walked one and scattered five hits in her complete game performance.
Offensively, Roehm was 3 for 4 on the night with 2 RBI and three runs scored. She scored a first inning run when she led off the game with a single and came around to score on a Kennedy Parker double. In the fifth, with one out she tripled and helped spark a three-run rally that saw LCC take advantage of an error and two hit bats men.
To cap off her night, Jaylen Roehm, coming off a two home run performance Monday, clubbed her third home run in two days in the sixth inning to for two more runs. Mary Kate Dee had led the inning off with a single.
LCC had to overcome a solid performance from Columbus Grove pitcher Cheyanne Mershman who finished with 13 strike outs, while surrendering six hits over seven innings of work.
“Hat’s off to Columbus Grove,’ Brett Roehm said. “They put it to us early. They put three runs on the board and put the ball in play and we hit the ball hard. It seems like the opportunities we didn’t capitalize in the early innings we did in the late innings.
Columbus Grove’s Kam Utendorf was 2 for 3 with a triple and two runs scored and Madison Zimmerly drove in a run, scored a run and recorded a stolen base.
“We played well all game long but we just couldn’t hit the ball,” Bulldog head coach Travis Gallmeier said. “Our timing was a little bit off tonight. I told the girls ‘she is not going to throw you the change-up if you can’t hit the fast ball. It felt like we were just a little bit late the whole night.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.