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Eagles-Lakota West To Battle For Southwest District Championship

Posted on: May 18, 2017

SETTING THE SCENE: With the theme of regular season rematches as the backdrop once again, the Milford High School softball team is out to capture its first Southwest District Championship since 2004 when the Eagles take on Lakota West on Friday at Hamilton High School. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m. After tournament wins over Walnut Hills and Ursuline, the Eagles enter district play against the only team from the state of Ohio to knock them off this year in Lakota West. Milford holds a stout 26-2 record on the season and will be seeking retribution for a 6-2 defeat earlier this year that snapped the Eagles then 16-game win streak. Lakota West is 18-10 after wins over Centerville and Northmont.

 

A LOOK BACK: May 15 vs. Ursuline (OHSAA Tournament): Milford 6, Ursuline 4

The Eagles opened a five-run lead, then held off a late comeback by Ursuline Academy to advance to the OHSAA District Finals courtesy of a 6-4 win on May 15. After being tabbed the No. 3 team in the state of Ohio earlier in the day, the Eagles backed it up with several timely hits and a strong pitching performance from Valerie Thompson.

 

With the win, Milford will now fight for a district championship for the second time in three years. The foe will be a familiar one as the Eagles will battle Lakota West, the only team from Ohio to best them during the regular season. The game is currently scheduled for 5 p.m. at Northmont High School north of Dayton, but could be changed based on graduation at West also on tap for Friday.

 

Sydnee Harris had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI to lead the offense. After allowing a first inning run, Thompson settled in, retiring 11 in a row at one point before running into some two-out trouble in the seventh.

 

After Ursuline got on the board first in the day’s opening frame, the Eagles came right back with a pair as Thompson helped herself with a two-run double. With Harris and Kelsey Seitz aboard, Thompson ripped a ball over the centerfield’s head plating both. The Eagles nearly extended the lead a run further on the next batter, but pinch runner Lilly Copp was cut down at the plate on a Katelyn Rheude single.

 

The Eagles stayed aggressive on the base paths in the second inning, but the aggressiveness cut short another rally. With two outs, Katie Hall nearly missed a homerun with a double off the fence in right center and came in to score when Harris singled to left, but the latter was thrown out trying to make it a double.

 

The Milford advantage grew to 4-1 in the fourth, this time when freshman Hillary Huffer lifted her second home run of the year to right center. The Eagles’ final two tallies came in the sixth, first thanks to more aggressive base running, this time by Rheude and later on a Harris’ run-scoring single.

 

Things got a little hairy with two out in the seventh as Ursuline put two runners on following a single and an error. The Lions’ Abby Elliott then drove a triple into right centerfield and ended up scoring when the relay throw to third went wild. But Thompson got the next hitter to hit a comebacker to end the game.

 

May 17 at Middletown Madison: Milford 3, Middletown Madison 0

In an effort to stay sharp between tournament games, the Eagles added a regular season contest against Middletown Madison, coming away with a 3-0 triumph against the No. 2 seed in Division III. Senior Valerie Thompson spun her third solo shutout of the season, limiting a strong Middletown Madison squad to just three hits.

 

THE BATS

The game remained scoreless into the fourth inning when Thompson helped herself with a run-scoring double. The Eagles were able to add some extra distance with in the seventh with a pair of runs thanks to several Madison miscues. Hillary Huffer ripped a triple and scored on an error to start, then Katelyn Rheude came around to score later after singling and advancing on Madison errors.

 

THE ARMS

Thompson picked up her 23rd win of the season with her three-hit shutout. Her day ended with 10 strikeouts in seven innings, marking her third double figure strikeout performance of the year.

 

THE UPCOMING DOCKET: A look at Milford’s next OHSAA Tournament opponent:

  • Friday, May 19 vs. Lakota West (at Hamilton HS), 3:00 p.m.
    • 2017 Record: 18-10, 13-5 GMC (5th Division I area coaches’ final poll)
    • Top Hitter: Junior Allie Cummins (.481/17 XBH/39 RBI/15 SB)
    • Top Pitcher: Senior Megan Brankamp (2.87 ERA/14-9 record)
    • Last Meeting: 2017; Lakota West 6, Milford 2

 

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: A look at Milford’s statistical leaders through 27 games:

Batting Average: Katelyn Rheude (.536), Kelsey Seitz (.517), Katelyn Reynolds (.494)

Slugging Percentage: Kelsey Seitz (1.023), Katelyn Reynolds (.779), Katelyn Rheude (.726)

On Base Percentage: Katelyn Reynolds (.574), Kelsey Seitz (.573), Katelyn Rheude (.563)

Runs Scored: Kelsey Seitz (41), Sydnee Harris (38), Shelbi Willhoite (30)

Hits: Katelyn Rheude/Kelsey Seitz (45), Sydnee Harris/Katelyn Reynolds (38)

RBI: Kelsey Seitz (45), Katelyn Rheude (37), Katelyn Reynolds (33)

Doubles: Katelyn Rheude (13), Sydnee Harris (12), Katelyn Reynolds (11)

Triples: Kelsey Seitz (7), Katelyn Reynolds (4), Five Tied (1)

Home Runs: Kelsey Seitz (7), Hillary Huffer (2), Katelyn Reynolds/Katelyn Rheude (1)

Walks: Katie Hall (23), Katelyn Reynolds (20), Sydnee Harris (16)

Stolen Bases: Sydnee Harris (13), Hannah Meenach (8), Lilly Copp (7)

Wins: Valerie Thompson (22), Hillary Huffer (3)

Saves: None

ERA: Valerie Thompson (1.05), Hillary Huffer (1.59)

Innings: Valerie Thompson (146.0), Hillary Huffer (22.0)

Opponents Batting Average: Valerie Thompson (.179), Hillary Huffer (.200)

Strikeouts: Valerie Thompson (142), Hillary Huffer (15)

 

POLL WATCH: Milford finished fourth in the final Division I area coaches’ poll of the year, released on May 1 and sponsored by the Cincinnati Enquirer. Lebanon won the poll title, earning nine of the 15 first place votes. The balance of the top-five includes Mason (three first place votes), Lakota East (two votes), the Eagles (one vote) and Lakota West. The ECC was also represented by Kings in eighth and Loveland receiving votes. The final coaches’ poll can be viewed at preps.cincinnati.com/coachespolls.

 

In the fifth Division I State Poll as voted on by the Ohio Softball Coaches Association, the Eagles jumped up to the No. 3 team in the state, also earning one first place vote. The Greater Cincinnati area is well represented with Lebanon ranked No. 1, Lakota East sixth and Mason seventh. The full rankings can be viewed here.

 

COLLEGE BOUND EAGLES: A trio of seniors on the 2017 Eagles’ roster have already announced their intention to continue their athletic and academic careers on the collegiate level. Kelsey Seitz will attend will attend Trevecca Nazarene University, while Valerie Thompson has signed a National Letter of Intent at Tennessee State University. Most recently, Katelyn Rheude sannounced her intention to attend Notre Dame College and compete on the college level.