By Wade Linville –
The Western Brown Lady Broncos are headed to the Southwest District Division I Sectional Tournament finals after claiming a 22-0 round one sectional win over Withrow on May 7 and pulling out a narrow 2-1 victory over No. 8 seed Oak Hills in the sectional semifinal game at Western Brown High School on Wednesday, May 9.
The Lady Broncos entered sectional tourney play as the No. 6 seed and held an overall record of 23-2 following their win over Oak Hills.
The Lady Broncos will face No. 5 seed Fairfield for a sectional title on Monday, May 14 at Lakota West High School.
Once again, it was a sturdy defense and some excellent at-bats that led the Lady Broncos to their round one sectional win over Withrow to kick off sectional tourney play.
For Western Brown’s sophomore pitching star, Sydni Barnes, the May 7 sectional win marked her 20th shutout for the season, as she has pitched for all 23 Lady Bronco victories in the pitcher’s circle this season for the most wins in the Cincinnati area. The sophomore star has been outstanding all season with an ERA of around 0.54 and a WHIP of around 0.44 after Monday’s victory over Withrow.
After Barnes struck out three straight batters to make for a quick top of the first inning, the Lady Bronco bats went to work in the bottom of the inning as the skilled squad of Western Brown hitters batted around the order to leave Withrow trailing by double figures before the second inning got underway.
Western Brown’s junior lead-off batter, Lexi Wallace, started off the bottom of the first inning against Withrow with a double to left field. Then it was Western senior Mary Sizer taking a base-on-balls, setting the stage for an infield single by Barnes to bring home the first run of the day for the Lady Broncos.
Junior Liz Hadley loaded the bases with an infield single. Next up to bat was Western freshman McKenna Conley, who hit into a fielder’s choice but managed to bring one run home in the process.
Western Brown junior Peyton Young singled to score two runs, upping the Lady Broncos’ lead to 4-0.
Sophomore Jade Jones then took a base-on-balls, but junior catcher Andrea Little grounded out to the pitcher’s circle to mark the second out of the side.
The bottom of the first inning continued with Western Brown freshman Payshence Hughes hammering out a double to drive in two runs, expanding the Lady Broncos’ lead to 6-0.
The Lady Broncos rose to a 7-0 lead as Lexi Wallace swung for a run-scoring single with two outs in the bottom of the first inning, marking her second hit of the game.
After Sizer was hit by a pitch and took a stroll down to first base, Barnes reached on an error to once again pack the bases for the Lady Broncos. Hadley capitalized on the two-out opportunity, stroking a single to score two runs.
Before the Withrow squad could put an end to the bottom of the first inning, Young would swing for a run-scoring single to lift the Lady Broncos to a 10-run advantage.
The Lady Broncos are headed by their long-time coach Blaine Wallace, who is confident that his varsity squad is equipped with everything it needs to compete with the best Division I teams in the state when at the top of their game.