MASON — Rain was in the forecast Wednesday, May 24 for Mason, Ohio, the site of the Division II regional semifinal softball tilt between Jonathan Alder and Springfield Shawnee.
The Lady Pioneers (22-4) packed their warm weather gear, the waterproof stuff to keep them warm and dry. Among the regular softball equipment each team brings, Alder also packed its bats.
Those proved to be needed much more than the red water resistant Pioneer pullovers, as the rain held off until the last inning and Alder pounded its way to an 11-2 victory earning a spot in the regional final.
There was no stopping the hot-hitting Pioneers on this night as they racked up 13 hits, many coming in the extra-base variety.
“We consistently hit the ball and once someone gets a good hit kind of energizes the whole team,” senior catcher Kayla Fredendall said.
There was no Alder player who provided more spark than the Appalachian State University-bound Fredendall. She started the home half of the first with a shot to left field that went off the glove of the fielder. Alder scored a pair of runs in the opening inning to set the tone for the game.
Fredendall then hit a solo home run in the bottom of the second and then put and exclamation point on the game with a towering three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth.
She however wasn’t the only offensive standout, Emily Walker had a pair of triples, while Katelyn Perkins and Chloe Grove each collected a pair of hits.
“Our top six consistently, I can’t believe the numbers,” Alder coach Dave McGrew said. “We have four girls hitting in the .525 to .550 range. That top is good, but the key has been the bottom of the lineup. As those kids have gotten more experience we’ve really come along.”
While Alder was making things tough on Shawnee pitcher Mary Britton, Perkins, the Alder starter inside the circle was solid. She allowed a pair of runs in the top of the third inning, but other than that the Braves only had two base runners the rest of the game.
With the win the Lady Pioneers advance to meet Greenville in a D-II regional championship game Saturday, May 27, back at Mason High School, starting at noon.
Quite an accomplishment for an Alder team that started the season having to replace seven starters and doing so with four freshmen in those spots.
“This is huge, that team is good (Greenville) but we’ve kind of already started our game plan,” McGrew said of the regional final. “We watched them and will be on the phone on the bus ride home.”
Greenville knocked off Clinton-Massie 14-4 in the other semifinal played at Mason Wednesday.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.