Western Brown girls finish perfect in league play at 10-0 –
By Wade Linville –
This year’s Lady Broncos have brought home the Western Brown High School softball program’s fifth straight Southern Buckeye Athletic/Academic Conference American Division title under the leadership of head coach Blaine Wallace, and they would do it in perfect fashion by finishing their 2017 spring campaign with a league mark of 10-0.
The Lady Broncos capped off league play for the season with a 6-2 win on the road against the Amelia Lady Barons.
“It obviously feels good to win five in a row. Winning five in a row says a lot about the girls who play here. They put in an incredible amount of time year round playing the game,” said Wallace.
Freshman Sydni Barnes pitched for Wednesday’s win at Amelia while battling illness. She finished with nine strikeouts and only allowed one earned run.
The Lady Broncos scored three runs in the first and three more in the second en route to the four-run victory.
Western Brown’s Lexi Wallace had two clutch RBI singles in the first two innings, both coming with two outs.
With league play complete for the regular, Wallace and his Lady Broncos hold higher expectations with the post season tournament just around the corner.
“While winning the league is nice, we do not want to be satisfied with just winning the league,” said Wallace. “Our goal is always to have a long run in the tournament.”
During the 2016 spring season, the Lady Broncos finished as Southwest District Division II Sectional champs to earn a berth in the district tournament, and with all top players from last season back on the field, in addition to some outstanding young talent, the Western Brown softball squad are hoping for an even lengthier tournament run this year. However, Wallace would like to see some improvements in his squad before tournament time.
“I still believe this is one of the more talented teams we have had. We have improved since the beginning of the year. We still have many areas to work on. Our base running is not good at times. We also need to improve our focus and concentration,” said Wallace. “As you advance in tourney play, one play may make the difference in the game. We need to learn to compete every pitch. We are getting better at it, but are still not where we need to be.”
“We hope to be playing our best ball come tourney time,” Wallace added. “We have scheduled some tough non-league games the last week of the season to help prepare us. You have to play and compete every pitch against good teams, or you will not be successful. Playing good teams helps you learn to compete. Our kids will never be among the stat leaders, because we will go play good teams. This may hurt individual stats, but helps you get better as a team and that is our goal.”
Ranking among the Lady Broncos’ hitting leaders this season going into their final league game was junior Mary Sizer, who hammered out 24 hits in 51 at-bats for a .471 batting average.
Barnes held a .466 batting average with 27 hits in 58 at-bats.
Western’s Liz Hadley leads the Lady Broncos in homers this season with five, while also putting up a batting average of .418 with 23 hits in 55 at-bats.
In the pitcher’s circle, Barnes has pitched for 11 wins this season, striking out more than 110 batters in just over 70 innings.
The Lady Broncos were scheduled to host non-league games against Fayetteville-Perry, Williamsburg, and Clermont Northeastern; while also taking on Hillsboro and Middletown Madison in non-league games on the road to wrap up their entire regular season schedule.