Sixteen-run inning propels Wildcats

Waterford blasts Lancers, 20-0, for sectional title

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times The Waterford High softball team defeated Federal Hocking 20-0 in a Division IV sectional final Thursday to advance to next week’s district tournament at Rio Grande.

WATERFORD — Waterford High enjoyed a sweet 16-run inning.

The top-seeded Wildcats sent 21 batters to the plate in the fourth frame en route to a 20-0 mercy triumph over visiting Federal Hocking in an OHSAA Division IV sectional softball final Thursday night.

“They’re capable of putting up runs, and we’ve done that several times this year,” said WHS skipper Doug Baldwin. “We got off to a slow start but once we got going, we made good contact and ran the bases well.

“I’m just proud of the kids. They’ve worked hard. You know, it’s been five years since we’ve won a sectional championship. So, we kind of set that as a goal.”

Waterford improved its record to 18-5 overall on the season. The Wildcats are now scheduled to play either fourth-seeded Manchester or fifth-seeded Franklin Furnace Green in a district semi at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the Evans Athletic Complex on the campus of the University of Rio Grande.

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Waterford's Emma Baldwin hurls a pitch during Thursday's sectional final game against Federal Hocking.

“Obviously, it’s going to get tougher as we advance,” Baldwin said. “We’ve just got to keep working hard.”

Senior righty Emma Baldwin hurled a 5-inning complete game in the circle, fanning three and allowing three singles.

“She pitched well,” Doug Baldwin said. “I think I’ve said this before but both of our pitchers (Emma and Adah Smitley) have a lot of confidence in our defense. And our kids make plays.”

Baldwin aided her own cause with three base-knocks, including a double, and drove in two runs.

Offensively for the Cats, first baseman Riley Schweikert was 3-for-3 with a 2-basehit off the fence and two ribbies. Center fielder Cara Taylor, shortstop Marissa Neader, third baseman Alayna Jones, and left fielder Sydney Huffman each added two hits and combined for seven runs-batted-in.

Second baseman Brier Offenberger tripled home two runs, while catcher Denise Young and third baseman Smitley each had one RBI.

Federal Hocking freshman right-hander Alexis Wilkes suffered the setback in the circle. The Lancers (10-14) hurt themselves with six errors.

At the plate, Wilkes stroked two singles, and second baseman Sam Brown beat out a bunt hit.

Early on, Wilkes and Baldwin were hooked up in a pitcher’s duel. At the end of two, it was scoreless.

But in the bottom of the third, the Wildcats capitalized on a couple of Lancer miscues, a walk, a hit batter, and RBI hits by Neader and Schweikert to make it 4-0.

In the fourth, Baldwin led off the frame with a double and the rout was on. The first 11 Wildcat batters reached base safely before Federal Hocking was able to record the first out.

When the dust finally settled, Baldwin, Huffman, and Offenberger each had three at-bats during the bat-around.

“Everybody played,” Doug Baldwin said. “All 15 of them got into the game.”