Eagles down Royals, 7-4, in 13-inning marathon


BLOOMDALE — Until Eastwood senior Delaney Maynard hit a 220-foot home run over the right-center field wall in the fourth inning Wednesday, Elmwood senior pitcher Madison Milligan held the Eagles scoreless for 10 innings.

Milligan’s streak dated back to the Royals’ 1-0 win over the Eagles on April 10. Once Maynard homered, the momentum turned toward the Eagles’ dugout.

“It loosened me up. I was more tense the first game,” Maynard said. “This game I just came in relaxed, and we all came in more relaxed this game.”

What ensued was a 13-inning marathon which ended when Eastwood freshman Mackenzie Hady belted a triple into the right field corner, scoring Maynard and sophomore Adyson Bowe, who had both reached on errors by the Royals’ infield.

Hady scored when Eastwood junior Cassi Kieper reached on a fielder’s choice, giving Eastwood a 7-4 win and allowing the Eagles to avenge their earlier loss to the Royals.

“I think that was amazing — a freshman (Hady) stepping up and getting an amazing win for us. This win means a lot to me — my senior year,” said Maynard, who will play for NCAA Division II Ashland University next year.

BLOOMDALE, OH – APRIL 26: Elmwood pitcher Maddie Milligan winds up to deliver a pitch during the second inning of a game against Eastwood on April 26, 2023 at Elmwood High School in Bloomdale, Ohio. Eastwood defeated Elmwood 7-4 in 13 innings..

Eastwood takes command of the Northern Buckeye Conference race, improving to 16-2 overall and 6-1 in the league, while Elmwood falls to 11-4 and 6-2.

It was the last time the two programs will ever meet in a conference game after spending their entire softball history in the same league, whether it was in the former Suburban Lakes League or in the NBC. Elmwood moves on to the Blanchard Valley Conference next year.

It was the Royals that struck first as their first inning lead-off hitter, junior Kate Keiffer, belted a one-and-two count pitch over the right-center field wall at about the same place Maynard’s HR went over, but Keiffer’s was at least 20 feet further, clearing automobiles parked behind the fence.

The Royals were up 3-0 when Maynard homered for Eastwood’s second hit of the game, but it seemed to spark confidence in the Eagles’ batting lineup as they belted five more hits in the third and fourth innings, scoring four runs to take a 4-3 lead, which stood until the seventh.

“Our girls did a good job stepping up,” Eastwood coach Joe Wyant said. “Like I told them, obviously the win is the best thing, but the second-best thing is when we were down 3-0 and the ball wasn’t bouncing our way on a couple hits.

“We fought back and took the lead 4-3. I was very proud of that effort coming from behind,” Wyant continued.

BLOOMDALE, OH – APRIL 26: Eastwood freshman Mackenzie Hady (3) is congratulated by senior Katie Oestreich (4) after scoring a run in the top of the 13th inning during a game against Elmwood on April 26, 2023 at Elmwood High School in Bloomdale, Ohio. Eastwood defeated Elmwood 7-4 in 13 innings..

In the bottom of the seventh, Elmwood junior Mariela Garcia’s base hit up the middle scored Keiffer, who had reached on an error, for the tying run.

Then the game reverted back to a pitcher’s duel as Milligan and Kieper tossed five scoreless innings until the Eagles produced the game-winning runs in the 13th.

In all, Eastwood had nine hits off Milligan, but eight of the nine went for extra bases, including Maynard’s home run, Hady’s triple, and six doubles.

Hady was 2-for-6 and also had a double and three RBIs, senior Jessyca Smith was 2-for-6 with a double and stolen base, and Maynard was 2-for-4, including a double, two runs, two walks and two stolen bases.

Eastwood sophomore Adyson Bowe, freshman Caitlyn Stiner, and senior Katie Oestreich hit one double each.

“We were putting the ball in play pretty good,” Wyant said. “We did strike out nine times, and seven were called out, so that was our only negative was having people called out.

“We hit it hard sometimes and we hit a lot of doubles and one triple, and we hit a lot of balls in the alley and over their head, so we hit well throughout the lineup,” Wyant continued.

“We got a couple big hits, but they did get that tying run on an error by us, and we had an error or two, so each team had their two errors. I’ll tell you what — we were really balanced on what we did, both teams, and about as equal as you can get.”

Elmwood first-year coach Emily Reynolds fears were realized when Eastwood’s top two hitters in the 13th reached on errors, setting up Hady’s three-bagger. They were Elmwood’s only errors of the game.

“I didn’t say it to the girls, but I was thinking in my head that this game is going to come down to whoever makes a mistake first, and it just happened to be us tonight,” Reynolds said.

“You know, they are a great team and we’re a great team. It was a battle. The pitchers threw great, the defenses played great, and we all hit the ball. It was going to come down to whoever made that mistake, and it was us.”

BLOOMDALE, OH – APRIL 26: Eastwood junior pitcher Cassi Keeper delivers a pitch during the second inning of a game against Elmwood on April 26, 2023 at Elmwood High School in Bloomdale, Ohio. Eastwood defeated Elmwood 7-4 in 13 innings..

Kieper struck out 10, issued two intentional walks, and allowed 12 hits and three earned runs in getting the complete-game victory.

“(She was) lights out. I’m so proud of her this year,” Maynard said. “She has been stepping up, and a 13-inning game, that is amazing.”

Milligan also went the distance, striking out nine and walking three while allowing nine hits and four earned runs.

At the plate for the Royals, Garcia was 4-for-5 with two stolen bases, Milligan was 3-for-6, Keiffer was 2-for-6 and scored three runs, senior Kynzie Science had a two-RBI base hit, and freshman Leah Allison and senior Cara Frank had base hits.

The Royals also successfully put down four sacrifice bunts by Frank, senior Abigail Allison, freshman Trinity Sander, and junior Tianna Galbraith.


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