MASON — In a moment fitting of Jack Buck’s classic “I don’t believe what I just saw” call, Clinton-Massie’s softball season came crashing to an end Monday at Mason High School.
Kaitlyn Justice of Ross hit a grand slam in the seventh inning to break a scoreless tie and lift the Rams to 4-0 win in a Div. II Mason District Championship game.
“She hit the ball hard,” CM coach Anthony Lauer said of Justice’s homer to left. “She hit the ball where she needed to.”
The blast sends Ross on to the regional tournament against Kenton Ridge, 11-1 winners over Western Brown Monday in a West Carrollton District title game.
The loss ends the Lady Falcons season at 24-1.
“I told the girls they had a great season,” Lauer said. “They can’t get down on it.”
The game is the final in the CM careers for seniors Caitlyn Robinson, Emilie Fisher and Taylor Flanigan.
Through six innings, the game was dominated by pitching. Massie freshman Taylor Florea and Ross sophomore Kenzie Meyer traded zeros in the scoring column. Florea struck out 10 in the first six innings, including the first four batters she faced. Meyer struck out just one in six innings.
But both teams had their chances to break the scoreless deadlock. The Lady Falcons stranded runners on base in each inning, including three in scoring position. Ross had a runner at third with one out in the second, a runner at third with two outs in the third and a runner at third with two outs in the fourth.
“We had our opportunities,” Lauer lamented. “They had their opportunities. I think we had a few more, we just couldn’t capitalize. We hit the ball right at somebody when we had those opportunities. In a game like this, you’re just one hit away.
And that “one hit” came in the Ross seventh.
Florea gave up a hit to Kelsey Warman and then issued her fourth walk of the game to Haley Grau. A fielder’s choice left runners at first and third with one out. Elisha Toney then walked to load the bases.
Justice, who was homerless this season prior to this at-bat, came to the plate looking to make contact and bring home the first run of the game. She had struck out her two previous one-on-ones with Florea.
This time, however, Justice launched a high fly ball that chased Massie left fielder Ashlie Miller to the fence. Miller jumped but the ball was just out of her reach and landed in the grass beyond the barrier to clear the bases and put a halt to the Lady Falcons unbeaten season.
May 23, 2016
@Mason High School
Div. II Mason District Championship
Ross 4 Clinton-Massie 0
(4) ROSS (ab-r-h-rbi) Hinterlong 4-0-1-0 Foster 2-0-0-0 Ivey 2-0-1-0 Warman 3-1-1-0 Grau 1-0-0-0 Parrett 3-0-0-0 Toney 2-1-0-0 Justice 3-1-1-4 Shields 3-0-0-0. TOTALS 23-4-4-4
(0) CLINTON-MASSIE (ab-r-h-rbi) Fisher 3-0-1-0 Carter 3-0-1-0 Robinson 3-0-0-0 Clayborn 3-0-0-0 Florea 3-0-0-0 Flanigan 2-0-1-0 Lisle 0-0-0-0 Newton 3-0-0-0 Miller 3-0-1-0 Carruthers 3-0-0-0. TOTALS 26-0-4-0
SB: R- Hinterlong, Parrett
Meyer (W, 14-5) 7-4-0-0-3-3
Florea (L, 18-1) 7-4-4-4-5-10
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports