Lady Jets survive Milan in Sectional 45 classic
PHOTO COURTESY OF ASHLEY NICHOLE PHOTOGRAPHY
Ask several fans who made the trek to Brownstown Central on Thursday night about the best softball game they’ve seen. Many will tell you it was that very night’s contest, a Class 2A Sectional 45 Championship clash that saw Hauser score five runs in the bottom of the seventh to win 10-9 over Milan and put an end to a dream season for the Lady Indians.
Hauser had won the regular season battle by a 15-2 final score on May 4 but as expected the postseason battle was a much closer affair. The Lady Jets entered Tuesday night’s regional with a record of 23-7 and faced Eastern (Pekin) in the Class 2A Regional Championship.
Thursday night’s seventh and final inning provided fireworks for both teams. Milan trailed 6-4 heading into the frame but swung some big-time momentum in its favor with a five-run eruption in the top of the seventh, taking a 9-6 lead and needing just three outs to claim its first sectional championship since 2018. But Hauser had other plans and spoiled all the fun for the black and gold.
The Lady Jets, who were Class A sectional champions the past two seasons, used its tournament experience in the bottom of the seventh and never seemed daunted by the deficit. Hauser answered Milan’s surge with three runs to tie the game 9-9 and a single by Haylin Campbell served as the game winning walk-off hit, scoring Maley Jordan and sending Hauser’s crew into jubilation while the Lady Indians were left both stunned and brokenhearted.
But not enough can be said about Milan’s team effort on Thursday with contributions being made by all who played. That included an offense that saw eight hitters with at least one hit and combine for 12 total hits in the game.
Kynadee Bode led with three hits, two RBI and a run scored and the duo of Karsyn Bode and Chloe Hunter each had two hits. Hunter hit a double and scored two runs while Karsyn Bode had a double, triple, three runs and an RBI. Eleanor Honnert, Emma Voss, Abby Moore, Nevaeh Carpenter and Tryniti Reed had a hit apiece.
Moore, Reed and Honnert all drove in a run apiece while Voss and Carpenter each scored a run. Mallory Eaglin was credited with an RBI in three plate appearances.
Hauser’s Reagan Johnson delivered a three-run home run and Jordan went 3-for-4 with two doubles, three runs and two RBI. Campbell drove in two runs while Kyra Meister and Paige McDaniel each had three hits and combined for five runs and two RBI.
McDaniel and Kynadee Bode dueled inside the circle in a pair of complete game efforts. McDaniel’s night ended with a pitching win, throwing seven innings and allowing eight runs on 12 hits with seven strikeouts and three walks. Bode pitched six and two-thirds innings, allowing 10 earned runs on 14 hits with two walks.
A major turnaround for the Milan softball program in 2023 saw the Lady Indians finish with an overall record of 21-11 and a 9-1 mark in the Ohio River Valley conference that gave the black and gold a share of the conference title.
Milan was just 2-17 in 2022 with a 1-9 record in the ORVC. 2024 will see the Lady Indians return 10 players from this season’s roster.